Episode 212

“Come in,” Don called out hearing knocking at his door as he searched through his papers.

“Hi,” Shannon’s voice came from behind him as he heard the door shut and he glanced back at her before searching through his papers once more.

“I’m busy right now,” Don informed Shannon, not paying her any attention, “What is it that you want?”

“Don’t act like nothing is going on,” Shannon frowned walking towards him and placing her hand on his shoulder watching him jump back from her touch.

“Nothing is going on,” Don replied holding his hands up in the air, “Right now, that’s all that we are…nothing.”

“Come on,” she sighed shaking her head slowly, “Don’t act like this. We need to talk.”

“You mean, don’t act like the way you always are?” Don questioned seeing her frown. “This is what I always get from you Shannon, and I told you last time I was with you…I am through with all of this.”

“That’s why I came here to talk with you,” she informed him as he looked up at her, resting his hands on his hips, “I think we need to set things straight.”

“What is it you want to talk about Shannon?” Don wondered with a small laugh. “From what you did the other night, everything is set between us.”

“That’s not true,” she protested beginning to raise her voice before calming down, “You and I both know we need to get something straight.”

“Right,” Don nodded biting down on his lip, “You want me to go lock the door again? Is that what you want?”

“Come on Don, be serious for a couple minutes,” Shannon begged feeling him grab her and lie her down on the desk as he slid the things from his desk to the floor.

“I am being serious Shannon,” Don pointed out kissing her slowly while her hands ran through his hair slowly, “Isn’t this what you like? Isn’t this what you always want from me? I‘m just a good screw right?”

“I don’t think that’s what,” she began before he cut her off, his lips covering hers again.

“How about we do this again like all the other times and then you leave once more,” Don shrugged before smiling, “I bet you do this with all your guys don’t you?”

“All my other guys?” Shannon questioned surprised feeling his lips traveling up her neck. “What do you mean by that?”

“Come on Shannon, we all know you aren’t a one man kind of gal,” he answered feeling her slap him across the face making him get up from the desk.

“How dare you say that,” Shannon scowled sitting up and watching him rub his cheek that was starting to sting, “You have no right to talk to me like that.”

“That was out of line, I’m sorry,” Don apologized, cussing under his breath feeling the pain rise in his face, “You see how I feel though? You jump me and then leave me. I don’t understand you Shannon and I don’t think I want to.”

“No one understands me Don,” Shannon reminded him as he looked down towards the ground picking up a few things.

“That’s because you are afraid to just let people into your life,” he stated shaking his head slowly and setting the items back on his desk, “You need to stop being afraid and be strong. Face all your fears and finally open up before you are alone forever.”

“I know you want me to change, but I can’t,” Shannon informed him seeing him shake his head.

“I don’t want you to make this relationship a sacrifice, I want you to really love me like I love you,” Don insisted before biting down on his bottom lip, “But obviously that isn’t going to be happening anytime soon.”

“How am I supposed to make things right between you and me?” Shannon questioned throwing her hands up in the air. “I don’t understand why all these things keep happening between us.”

“This isn’t about you and me,” Don pointed out, running his hand along cheek, “If I do recall, you left me because I had a son. Now if you aren’t willing to accept my son, you aren’t willing to accept this relationship or me. Matthew is my life and there is nothing more important in this world than him.”

“I understand that,” she replied seeing him nod, sliding his hands into his jacket pockets.

“Then answer this question,” Don started to think of words as his intense blue eyes looked into her, “Are you willing to risk having a relationship with me? Are you willing to love my son and me? That‘s something I need to know the answer to and I need to know it now.”


Dean closed his eyes feeling Deidra sink in against him after their lovemaking session had expired. Now as he smoothed his fingers through her dark, damp hair, he felt his heart racing in his chest--his mind running wild with all the heated memories of what it had been like for them to have finally come together in such an intimate, personal connection. Even now the very thought of holding her close to him took his breath away. Now with the feel of her in his arms, his thoughts tapered away from the torture he’d been pushing upon himself. His eyes were now fixed on the beautiful woman before him.

“I love you,” Deidra whispered against his damp skin, placing her lips over the center of his chest.

“I love you too,” Dean revealed knowing his heart had already betrayed his ability to decipher between right and wrong in this particular situation, “Regardless of what happens next, I want you to know that I do love you.”

“I know,” she couldn’t help but smile before his words sank in. Tipping her head upward she eyed him with a strange expression, “Although you say that as if you’re expecting some kind of doom and gloom turn about.”

“No, it’s not that. It’s…” he strained for the right words reaching out to trace her jaw line lazily. Their eyes connected and he could see the intensity of what he felt for her reflected in her eyes. This was too much--too intense and now, “I just wish that life wasn’t always so complicated.”

“Hey I thought that I was the usual pessimist of the two of us,” she massaged her warm fingers over his chest gingerly, “though after what just happened, well I have to say I’m feeling pretty optimistic right about now and I think you should too.”

“I am optimistic,” he revealed a small smile unable to refrain from loving every second of her over him, of the way her nose wrinkled just a bit when she smiled or how the genuineness behind her beautiful brown eyes seemed to make every other aspect about this impossible situation seem as if there was some kind of light at the end of the tunnel.

“Good because optimism is going to only bring you good things today,” she decided propping herself up on her arms long enough to slide up over his body again.

She dropped her lips down just over his before leaning forward and nibbling on his bottom lower lip. Tentatively she felt his mouth respond to hers, his tongue teasing the warmth of her mouth with a warm, sensual promise of pleasures yet to be explored between them. She moaned slightly feeling his hands drop down around her waist before he spun her in his arms, moving in over her to kiss her intensely. His fingers fanned out over her thigh, memorizing her soft skin all over again while her body burned beneath his.

“You’re not what you seem Dean,” she mouthed in a low, breathless whisper once they’d parted.

“What?” he questioned stiffening over her. He pulled back slightly wondering if somehow she’d figured him out.

“I mean, here you like to play it cool and collected, yet there was nothing cool about what you did to me just then,” she confessed with a tiny laugh, easing her fingers down over his back in a well-thought out movement. She cupped and caressed his muscled body before a playful laugh erupted from behind her smile, “You had me thinking that you had nerves of steel, but you craved this as much as I did.”

“More so,” he confessed tipping down again to drop damp kisses over her neck, “you have no idea how long I’ve wanted you…”

“Only probably as long as I’ve wanted you,” she sighed arching back onto the floor feeling the intensity behind his kisses grow and expand while her nails scratched lightly over his back and shoulders.

“Actually it goes beyond what you’re thinking,” Dean pulled himself feeling a moment of honesty building over him. He tore his lips away from her, hating to have that kind of distance between them, yet he couldn’t avoid giving her the truth. She deserved more than what he’d issued and now, well now he needed to be straight with her.

“Dean, what is it,” she questioned catching the darkness behind his expression.

“We need to talk. There’s something…” he inhaled sharply, prickling jolts of nervousness spreading like a hot fire over his skin. He pulled back ever so slightly in an attempt to beckon back rationality without the distraction of her body burning beneath his.

“What is it? What’s wrong?” she questioned gently reaching out to touch his arm.

“It’s just…” he began his dark eyes filled with worry and apprehension. He closed his eyes briefly knowing full well that this confession he was about to make would change the future between them forever.

“Dean, if something’s wrong, you can tell me anything,” she began again, the patience behind her tone making his inner struggle all the more agonizing by the second.

“I know that which is why I’ve realized that I can’t hesitate on this one. I need to let you know that,” he started ready to do what he needed to do when the soft vibrating sounds of her pager buzzed through the momentary courage he’d mustered up. He looked at her, opening his mouth as the pager danced and circled over the glass top of the coffee table.

“It never fails,” Deidra frowned torn between her duty and the man she loved. She eyed the pager, glaring at it as if it had single-handedly taken from the moment of intimacy between them. She could see that Dean was fighting to share something with her--straining to tell her something, yet when she watched him reach out for her pager and hand it to her, she was certain that moment had passed.

“Maybe you should take a look,” he replied depositing the pager in her hand. She looked down catching her first glimpse of the number and a scowl touched over her lips.

“It’s the hospital,” she announced knowing that somehow things had gone from amazing to that same pull back into reality that she’d been hoping to avoid. Seeing the blinking display of her pager, she brought her fingers up through her hair with a groan, “I should probably call them back.”

“Yeah, you probably should,” he nodded in agreement pulling himself off of the floor before holding his hand out to help her up.

She accepted his fingers and found herself pleasantly surprised when he swept her up into his arms. His lips met hers in a moment of sweet longing before he pulled back.

“I’ll go take a quick shower,” he announced watching the glow of happiness that had surrounded her moments earlier evaporate with the buzzing of her pager. “That way if we have to head back to the hospital…”

“That’s a good idea,” she nodded in response watching him move towards the hallway as she turned her attention back to the pager.

Dean took a few more steps forward, thinking about how close to the truth he’d come with her--how connected he’d felt, yet in this moment, guilt plagued over him. He stopped moving, taking a look over his shoulder at Deidra as she picked up the phone.

“As if this wasn’t hard enough,” he shook his head before making a silent retreat to the bathroom. Once inside he closed the door behind him and leaned back. As if he needed another damn complication in his life. This wasn’t at all what he’d planned on, yet…

“Yet you’ve gone and made a fine mess of things,” Dean blurted out disgusted with his own actions. He should’ve known better than to get caught up in the moment. He knew full well that he shouldn’t have allowed himself to get as involved emotionally as he had.

“You’re losing your edge,” he reminded himself reaching out to turn on the water. He stepped into the shower feeling the cold spray over him. Leaning forward he placed his arm out stretching his fingers against the tiled wall while he closed his eyes thinking back to the night he’d first rescued Deidra.

“I hope you know what you’re doing,” the voice in the back of his mind had warned him over and over again. Pacing around the dark lot, he couldn’t help but worry about how the exchange was going to go. It was bad enough that he was doing this, yet to be doing it in public like this, well it just made the whole arrangement seem all the more nefarious.

Adjusting his collar slightly, he cleared his throat again whispering words of assurance to himself. Everything was riding on this night. He knew what he had to do--knew what he had to say. It was as simple as 1-2-3 and as long as he followed the guidelines set out for him, it was going to be a piece of cake. Looking to the small package in his hand, he felt a breeze sweep over him. He moved forward opening the package and taking out it’s contents.

It was a simple job--something that he could just do and get it over with before anyone noticed. No one was really paying attention and the night would be kind to what was needed. Crouching down beside the car, he pulled out the contents of the box, taking a long look at his materials knowing that this should be a simple job, but then that’s when the plan fell apart. A crackling sound followed causing him to nearly leap out of his skin when he discovered that the dim light overhead had burnt out.

“Wonderful,” he muttered hearing movement from the north end of the lot. Turning his attention towards the sound, that’s when he spotted her--that’s when Deidra stepped out into the night. She looked cold, perhaps distanced from the world around her as her face was twisted with some kind of contemplation. He crouched down by the car like a hawk stalking his prey.

It would’ve been so much easier to do this if he‘d just left the hospital five minutes sooner, he chastised himself, but he’d been distracted in watching her before. His mind had been on how beautiful she was standing there in the hospital gossiping with one of the nurses. In that moment of sloppiness he hadn’t allowed himself the time he’d needed to finish what had been asked of him. Now, well, now he was about to blow it big time.

“Damn it,” Dean moved back, crawling through the parking lot in the hopes of being undetected now that his mark was moving towards him. This wasn’t how he’d planned it, how he’d wanted to work this angle tonight, but as he looked to the box, he knew that there was no way he was going to get the job done. Now he just had to hide himself before his cover was blown. He crept in behind one of the SUV’s in the parking lot ready to call that night a failure, but then that was when he’d heard Deidra’s scream and the course of destiny had been changed forever.

Now as Dean stood in the shower, soaking up the icy blast of water overhead, he dropped his head further still trying to forget all the ways in which he blew it. He wasn’t going to focus on the past--only the mess that he’d made of the present. He had to tell her. Had to let her know what was really happening that night in the parking lot when he’d rescued her. She needed to know the truth about his intentions--about the secrets still between them. He had to quit fighting his instincts. One way or another he resolved to make her understand who he really was. No more holding back.


“Dave,” Kayla smiled getting up from her spot at the table as he yawned, “I saved you a spot next to me and grandma.”

“Really?” Dave questioned as she grabbed his hand pulling him towards the table.

“You are going to love breakfast,” Kayla informed him as he helped her get in her seat; “Grandma and mommy make great breakfasts.”

“I bet,” Dave smiled sitting down and looking back at Carly and her mother cook.

“Breakfast will be done in a minute,” Helen declared taking one of the bowls from the counter and setting it down on the table.

“I’ve got the last of it,” Carly pointed out setting down three other bowls on the table.

“Let’s eat,” Kayla giggled as Carly took a seat across from Dave seeing him smile as she looked up at him.

“Looks good,” Dave winked at Carly before noticing that Kayla was trying to hand him a bowl, “Thanks for breakfast.”

“It was really no problem,” Helen assured him as he handed her the bowl, “It is always nice to get back to cooking instead of having cereal all the time.”

“I’m sure this will be good,” Dave answered taking a bite from his bacon, “Which it is good.”

“Have some eggs,” Carly encouraged him, handing him the bowl; “I made them.”

“Then I must have some,” Dave replied putting some on his plate and taking a bite, “These have to be the best scrambled eggs I have ever had.”

“Right,” Carly laughed taking a bite of her food before looking over towards Kayla.

“Look mommy,” Kayla smiled holding out her plate, “I made a smiley face.”

“Isn’t that a beautiful piece of work,” Dave smiled before frowning, “Too bad that face has to be eaten.”

“It’s real yummy,” Kayla laughed grabbing her piece of bacon and eating it, “You have some.”

“I don’t think I need anymore,” Dave replied looking down at his plate, “I think I already have enough of my own.”

“Mine is better,” Kayla declared holding up a piece of bacon for him, “You will like it. It is really good.”

“Alright,” Dave nodded taking the bacon from her and eating it, “You were right. That is much better than all the bacon in the world. To think, I didn’t believe you at first.”

“I always tell the truth silly,” Kayla laughed seeing him shrug; “You are funny.”

“I am always funny,” Dave insisted looking up at Carly, “Speaking of fun, we are going to be going somewhere fun later.”

“Really?” Kayla questioned happily seeing Dave nod. “Where are we going?”

“It’s a surprise,” he whispered before seeing her clap her hands together happily.

“I love surprises,” Kayla giggled seeing him smile.

“Then you are really going to love what I have planned later,” Dave promised winking at Carly seeing her shake her head.

“What are you up to now?” Carly questioned to herself seeing the big smile across Dave’s face. “What do you have planned?”


Diane leaned back into the couch hearing the shower still running. Every time she tried to think about something else, the thought of Ben finding out about her and JT always came back.

“It won’t happen,” she told herself once more knowing that it was only a dream last night, “I can’t let it happen.”

She slowly got up from the couch and walk towards the window and looked outside.

“He can never know,” Diane whispered running her hand along her stomach slowly, “If this baby really is JT’s, then Ben can never know the truth. Never.”

“What’s wrong?” Ben questioned walking into the room seeing Diane standing in front of the window.

“Ben,” Diane gasped turning around seeing that his hair was slightly damp, “I never heard you get out of the shower.”

“I just got out,” he informed her, seeing her walk to the couch and take a seat, “What are you doing?”

“I was just thinking,” she replied when he took a seat next to her, “About the future.”

“We are going to be so happy in the future,” Ben smiled wrapping his arm around her tightly, “We will be married and we will have a family of our own soon.”

“I know,” she nodded slowly thinking of something to say, “That’s exactly what I was thinking.”

Diane jumped hearing a knock at the door as her dream replayed in her mind.

“Don’t answer that,” she pleaded holding Ben back hearing him laugh, “I wanted to talk to you about something.”

“Hold on a second,” he made her pause as he went to the door and opened it.

“He is lying,” Diane shouted as Ben shut the door and turned around with a box in his hands.

“The mailman is lying?” Ben questioned sitting back down. “This really isn’t from my parents?”

“I don’t know where that came from,” she sighed running her hand along her forehead slowly, “Sorry.”

“It’s okay,” Ben assured her as he opened the box slowly, “You have been acting really weird lately…is everything okay?”

“Everything is perfect,” she insisted as she saw him pull a book from the box. “What is that?”

“It’s a book of tips,” he replied looking at the cover before smiling, “For our wedding.”

“Really?” Diane questioned grabbing the book from his hands. “This is great; your parents are so sweet.”

“I’ll be sure to call them later and tell them thanks I guess,” Ben shrugged seeing her nod quickly.

“I will even call them myself if you would like,” she offered up seeing him shrug.

“If you insist,” Ben laughed watching her flip open the book, “I wonder what kind of things they have in there.”

“Why don’t you scoot closer and find out for yourself,” Diane smiled as Ben came closer looking down at the book.

This was how it was always going to be, JT was going to ruin what they had. She wasn't going to let that happen.


“You know maybe you should think about this before you just go over there in a fury. Your being upset like this isn‘t going to help anything,” Avery suggested watching Brant throw his clothes into a suitcase, “Obviously there has to be some kind of logical explanation to all of this…”

“Yeah Seth is a dead man,” Brant snarled with a huff, “that’s all there is to it.”

“Brant, you don’t know that Seth is the one to blame for all of this. For all we know,” Avery piped in once again.

“Avery, my sister does not just get herself arrested. It’s not something Blake would do on her own. I’m sure that idiot she’d dating is behind it,” Brant frowned with a huff.

“She loves him Brant and I hardly think that he would willingly put her in any danger,” she tried to reason with him, “and if you take a moment to step back and see that, then…”

“Avery, I know better than to ignore what’s happening in Blake’s life. I knew full well that there have been a lot of things going on for her, but with my worries about Ken and everything else, well I haven’t been able to give her the attention she needs,” he snapped back at her throwing yet another shirt into his suitcase, “I should’ve been there for her.”

“Brant, Blake is a grown woman fully capable of taking care of herself. I’m sure whatever she’s gotten herself into, she’ll be able to find a way out of it. We can just fly in there together and see what’s going on and get her out of jail,” Avery suggested walking across the room to retrieve one of her suitcases.

“No, you’re not coming with me,” Brant announced his words stopping her from taking another step forward.

“What did you just say?” she questioned spinning around to face him with a frown.

“I said, ‘You aren’t coming with me,’” he repeated himself firmly, “I’m going by myself so that I can clear this up without being distracted.”

“Distracted,” she repeated with a huff putting her hands on her hips impatiently, “So now I’m what? A distraction?”

“No, that’s not what I’m saying, but…” he shook his head feeling suddenly flustered, “I just…I need to do this on my own.”

“Brant, I can see that you’re upset and if you fly into Atlantic City like that it’s only going to make things worse for Blake. The last thing she needs is you flying off the handle on her,” Avery reminded him pointedly.

“Don’t tell me how to run things with my sister,” Brant warned wiggling his finger back at her, “You don’t know the first think about how it has to be in dealing with Blake.”

“Well, I might not know the first, but I most certainly know that your going in there acting like a spoiled child with an axe to grind isn’t going to make the situation better for her. She needs compassion and help right now, not you pointing blame at everyone who happens to cross paths with you,” Avery glared back at him throwing her words out harshly, “If you walk in with the big guns ready to attack Seth, she’ll just tell you where you can stick it.”

“All the more reason why I need to get out there and talk some sense into my sister. If Seth is getting her into trouble like this, then…” Brant threw his hands in the air completely exasperated, “I don’t know why I’m wasting my time explaining this to you. I have to leave.”

“Oh, so now I’m not only a distraction, but a waste of time too, huh?” Avery spat out at him bitterly, “So I see how it is. I’m good enough to chase around for months and back into the corner when you’re in the mood to get some, but when it comes down to the real things in life--you know the things that are important, then we’re not a partnership, are we Brant?”

“It’s about my sister right now, not you,” Brant shook his head at her, “I can’t believe that you’re making this into something that it’s completely not. This isn‘t about us, it‘s about helping Blake.”

“Which is what I’m trying to do,” she stepped forward, “I can see that you’re upset and you need someone to think rational right about now.”

“I don’t need you to do my thinking for me,” he snapped back at her, his words rising with clear cut agitation. He opened his mouth to speak, but then stopped himself before the words came out, “Avery look given what’s been going on with us lately, I just don’t think it’s a good idea to tote you out to Atlantic City especially with Bruce still out there. If he follows us to Atlantic City, I’m not going to be able to protect you like I could with you staying here. I’m worried about Blake and I can’t spend my time…”

“Doing what? Babysitting me?” she questioned wounded by his words, “Brant, is that what you think I’m asking you to do for me? Do you really believe that if Bruce came here right at this very moment that I couldn’t be able to handle him myself?”

“Avery, the man is a complete lunatic and with Blake being where she is…” he started again.

“Trust me. Blake is the last thing on Bruce’s mind and I can assure you if he comes back, I won’t hesitate to finish the job I started when I shot him the other day,” Avery remarked stubbornly, “He’s not a problem for me.”

“Well, he’s a problem for me. If Blake’s in jail, I don’t want something else to go wrong and make the situation worse. Seth was so vague on the phone that I’m not really sure what I’m walking into. I wish I could say that it’s something that we could tackle together, but we can’t. I need to do this on my own.”

“But why?” she frowned back at him, “Don’t you trust me? Or am I so much of a burden to you that you feel I’m only going to drag your situation down further?”

“Avery, it’s not that. It’s…” Brant found himself at a loss feeling guilty at the expression on her face, “Avery, I haven’t been there for Blake lately and something tells me that she’s going to need me. Call it my crazy brotherly instincts, but I have this nagging feeling that whatever it is I’m going to find out there is something that she and I have to deal with one on one. While I know you mean well, it’s just not the place for…”

“For me to be,” she finished with a small nod, “I get it Brant. It’s a family thing.”

“Yes it is, but…” Brant reached out to take her hand in his. His agitation seemed to melt away a bit now replaced by a softness in his tone, “Avery this isn’t because I don’t view you as family. It’s just that Blake needs me and…”

“And you should be there for her when she needs you,” Avery nodded before looking away, “You do what you have to do.”

“Please don’t be angry with me for this Avery,” he begged of her squeezing her hand in his, “I’m not doing this because I don’t want you there.”

“Then why are you doing this?” she questioned with wide eyes, “I’m trying to understand, but with what you’re saying, well it’s just all coming out in such a way that…”

“It’s coming out wrong,” Brant finished with a heavy sigh, “It’s not that I want to leave you out, but right now, well I have to do this my own way.”

“Even if it would be easier if we do this together,” she half questioned seeing the burning turmoil behind his eyes.

“Avery, please trust me on this. I need to do this for Blake my own way considering that there’s a lot she’s going to be coming home to. When she gets out of jail, she’s going to have to know about Ken. I’m going to have to tell her about what’s been going on in Coral Valley and…”

“And I’m probably the last person who should be there when you do it considering what happened with Ken and I,” she deduced finally getting a feel for where this was headed for them, “That’s going to put a strain on everything isn’t it?”

“I wish that it didn’t, but Blake loves him so much. She has no idea what he’s become and now,” Brant dropped his head poignantly, “I don’t know how I’m going to tell her, but I need to be honest with her--really honest with her about all the things I’ve tried to keep from her all these years.”

“Brant, she’s just been arrested. I don’t think that now is the time to drop the weight of the world on her shoulders. She’s just seeking out some help and…” she tried to reason with him.

“And obviously something big is happening with her and Seth. I’m not sure why or how they wound up in Atlantic City, but I can take a good guess at what might’ve been on my sister’s mind since she’s been seeking out stability in her life for a long time. I wouldn’t doubt she decided to run away with Seth and begin happily ever after,” he closed his eyes all the while trying to imagine what Blake had gotten herself into.

“You make it sound like it’s a bad thing,” Avery gave him a strange look seeing the strained expression on his face.

“Given what our father did to Jade, I think that there’s a lot of truths that are going to need to be realized before Blake can consider a future with that man,” Brant cleared his throat uneasily, “I never wanted her to know, but now, well now that the ghosts of the past seem to keep coming back to haunt us all, I think it’s only fair that I give Blake the truth. I have to tell her about what’s been happening…”

“Brant, I don’t know if this is the time. I know you mean well, but,” Avery reached for his hand squeezing it gently, “if she’s upset right now, then doing that could only drive her over the edge. Just go to her and be her support system. Let her lean onto you and when the moment is right, well then you tell her what you think she needs to know, but not until then.”

“That’s just it Avery. I don’t think there’s ever going to be a right moment here,” he dropped his head hating like hell that he was put in such a position.

“Then take a small piece of my advice,” she suggested reaching out to touch his cheek gently. She urged him to meet her eyes once again, “When you talk to her, just be patient and understanding and careful with your words. It’s not going to be easy for her to learn the truth and when she does it’s going to upset her--so much so that I really don’t think you should tell her about Ken.”

“But Avery, he’s been so…” Brant began only to feel her finger press in over his lips to silence him.

“You can tell her what she needs to know, but the worst of it,” she paused her face growing flushed at the thought of Ken, “She doesn’t need to know about what happened with Ken and I. I don’t think that’s something that she needs to hear right now. Deep down I know you agree with me on that.”

He nodded, “You’re right. I’m getting way ahead of myself, aren’t I?”

“You are,” she agreed with a small sigh, “but given that you’re upset I can’t say I blame you. Just know that when you get back home, I’ll be here for you. We can talk about this and maybe together we can find a way to make this easier on everyone.”

“Avery, I’m sorry about what I said before. I never meant to imply that you weren’t…” he started again only to feel her finger press further in against his lips.

“Brant, don’t apologize. You respected when I needed to do some things with Elliot and Cheryl and I owe you that same respect in dealing with this. Go be there for your sister and just know that while you’re gone, I’ll be thinking about you. I’ll try to send good thoughts your way.”

“Avery, I…” he began seeing the concern behind her dark eyes.

“I love you Brant and I just want things to be easier for you--for all of us,” she replied stepping forward into his arms and holding him. She closed her eyes leaning into his chest as she felt his arms wrap around her in an embrace.

“I want that too Avery,” Brant replied in a low whisper wondering if he would be able to find a way to make things right for the Ashford family ever again. He’d spent most of his life being the carefree one, but now that Ken had gone off the deep end, he found himself being the one desperately straining to hold the pieces of the Ashford family together. The only problem was he wasn’t sure how long he could keep up with such a task.


“Seth,” Blake gasped getting off the bench at the sight of her fiancé in front of her as she grabbed onto the bars, “How did you get back here?”

“They let me back here for a second,” Seth informed Blake kissing her gently, “How are you two holding up?”

“If she wasn’t here,” Blake motioned to Valerie who began walking towards the couple, “We would be fine, but I think Sarah took care of her for a little bit.”

“Did I miss another good moment?” Seth questioned with a small frown seeing her nod. “Damn, I miss everything good.”

“Hey Seth,” Valerie smiled pushing Blake back before Seth and Blake could kiss, “Are you trying everything you can to get me out of here?”

“Back off twit,” Sarah rolled her eyes pushing back Valerie seeing her try to get back up, “Do you want another meeting with the bars? That’s what I thought.”

“Oh my,” Seth laughed as Blake and Sarah approached him, “I don’t want to mess with macho woman here. I can see where Kyle got it from.”

“She’s my bodyguard,” Blake informed Seth with a small laugh, “So what is taking so long?”

“Well, Kyle got his wallet stolen,” Seth answered seeing Sarah shake her head slowly, “So I called my cousin and he is going to come here and help us out.”

“You think he will be here anytime soon?” Sarah questioned seeing Seth nod slowly.

“He said he was leaving about twenty minutes ago, so he should be here soon,” Seth answered seeing Sarah try to look and see Kyle.

“Where is Kyle?” Sarah wondered seeing him laugh. “Is he okay?”

“He is fine, he is just trying to get one of the cops to tell him what is going on,” Seth informed her before looking towards Blake. “Oh yeah, I called your brother too.”

“You what?” Blake questioned angrily shaking her head at Seth. “I can’t believe you would call my brother.”

“I figured I should just tell him,” Seth sighed seeing Blake begin to pout, “He cares about you Blake, he deserves to know what’s going on.”

“I could have handled this all my own,” Blake pointed out rolling her eyes, “I could have handled it without him even knowing.”

“Blake, he was just being a good person,” Valerie stated from behind Sarah and Blake making the both of them turn around, “If you can’t be nice to him…”

“Shut up,” Sarah held her hands up in the air watching Valerie take a seat on the bench.

“I should get going,” Seth insisted looking back at the police officer, “We will get you out of here as soon as possible. Love you.”

“Love you too,” Blake smiled as he kissed her quickly and walked back down the hallway. “I can’t believe he called Brant.”

“I’m sure Brant will be okay with this whole thing,” Sarah assured her, patting her on the back gently, “It can’t be that bad.”

“Sarah, you know my brother,” Blake pointed out with a small sigh, “You and I both know Brant wont be taking this easily.”


“So what do you say?” Don questioned looking into Shannon’s blank expression. “Are you willing to accept my family? Do you really want to be with me?”

“I don’t know,” Shannon stuttered seeing him roll his eyes and lean against his desk.

“You have to know,” he replied with a small frown, “You have to answer before I can make my decision. So if you would.”

“I can’t answer, not yet,” she shook her head seeing his face begin to color over.

“Get out of here,” Don yelled angrily seeing her shake her head, “I said, get out of here.”

“No, we need to talk,” Shannon protested shaking her head, “I need to tell you something.”

“Fine, but make it snappy,” Don snapped running his hands through his short, dark hair.

“I know we have some problems and I know you love me,” she began to explain seeing him listen to her every word, “But what do you really think is going to make this relationship work. I’m not your type and you don’t really love me. You just want someone to love and you think I am that woman.”

“Screw your theories,” Don shook his head disagreeing with her, “I know what I feel. I just think it’s you that doesn’t know what the hell you want. You are in love with me, you are just too afraid to admit that.”

“We can’t live a relationship among lies,” Shannon protested hearing him laugh deeply.

“Is this still about my son?” Don questioned his expression changing to serious. “You should really get over that soon. You were never completely loyal to me either. I tried to tell you sweetheart, but you just didn’t care.”

“Come on,” Shannon scowled throwing her hands up in the air, “Something as big as a kid should have come out when I first found out we were married.”

“I did try to tell you if you remember,” Don pointed out with a small laugh, “I believe your shower was more important then.”

“How was I supposed to know that I was married to a liar?” she wondered seeing the anger build behind his face.

“You know what?” he questioned with a laugh. “I won’t let you get me angry this time because you just aren’t worth it. You see, I know you love me deep down and you will realize it. When you finally realize that you do care for me, you better hope I am still in love with you.”

“Don,” she started, trying to think of something to say before he cut her off throwing his hands up in the air.

“I think the best thing you could do right now is just leave,” Don suggested seeing her going to protest, “Fine, if you won’t leave, I will.”

“Wait,” she called out, but it was too late because he had already walked out of the office and into the hallway. “What am I supposed to do?”

If she ever made a right decision in her life, she hoped that the next few days she could make the most important decision of her life. Could she really love Don or was this just guilt deep down. Don meant something, but was he her everything?


Diane stood in the center of Ben’s kitchen thinking about the shocking revelation she’d made. Could it be possible? Would it be even imaginable that she could be pregnant? No, she tried to reason with herself. The chances of that would be highly unlikely since she was on the pill. She’d been careful. She and Ben had been so very careful about things yet with JT.

“No,” Diane groaned inwardly bringing her hands up over her head. Certainly she hadn’t been that stupid when she and JT spent that one, stupid night together. She might’ve been drunk, but could she have gone past the point of stupidity and not insisted that they play it safe? Then again sleeping with JT in the first place was reason enough for her to realize just what an idiot she’d been. Now that the memory haunted her, she realized she needed to know the truth about what was really going on.

“There you are,” Ben walked into the room, a smile spreading over his handsome features, “I was afraid I’d lost you there. I was thinking that maybe we’d work on getting a bite to eat and then…”

“Actually,” Diane spun around quickly, “before we do that, I realize that I forgot something at the office. I really shouldn’t have, but Brant asked me to file something away and make a few phone calls while he was out and I forgot.”

“You forgot,” he couldn’t help but tease before reaching out to pull her into an embrace, “Now why doesn’t that surprise me?”

“Don’t make fun of me,” she swatted at his chest lightly, “I’m being serious here. I guess I was just kind of caught up in everything that’s been going on with Jade and with our upcoming wedding that your mother wants to help us with and…”

“And this wouldn’t be your way of trying to sneak out and talk shop with one of the girls about what my mom sent would it?” Ben questioned with a curious brow.

“No, no of course not,” she shook her head lightly, “I really did forget something and if I don’t get on it, then I swear Brant’s going to kill me this time. I promised him that I would do it, but then I got so worked up about him being out and not in the office that I forgot to…”

“Hey it’s okay,” Ben squeezed her hands gently, “We can just go down there together and then pick something up. Maybe we’ll go have a quiet lunch out by the lake before we go over to check in with Grady…”

“No,” Diane blurted out immediately. She was paranoid and she was about to give herself away if she didn’t take a step back and breathe. Closing her eyes she inhaled slowly before speaking up again, “I mean Ben, I kind of sort of have something else planned for us. Honestly, is there no sneaking anything past you?”

“You have something planned?” he half grinned, his eyes sparkling with curiosity. “Like what?”

“Like, you’re just going to have to wait and find out,” Diane poked at his chest lightly. “Of course if you insist on following me to where I need to go, then it’s going to totally ruin my plans for today and we can’t really have that, now can we?”

“Oh no,” Ben shook his head reaching out to lace his fingers behind her back to keep her enveloped in his arms, “we really couldn’t have that.”

“Ben, I’m being serious,” she threw out a pointed look hoping that he’d believe what she was saying to him.

“Fine,” he released her taking a step back, “if you have a surprise, then I’ll show you what it’s like to be patient. I’ll get things ready here while you’re out. Come to think of it, there are a few things that I’d like to get to myself there I suppose.”

“See, well then it works out,” she let out a breath of relief, “You go and do that and then we can meet back here later. I think that works out perfectly.”

“Gee, don’t get too excited about ditching me here,” he joked reaching for her again. He pulled her in flush against him before his lips dropped down over hers, “Have I ever told you how much I love you?”

“Only about half as much as I’ve said how much I love you,” she replied tipping up on her toes to bridge the distance between them before kissing him tenderly. As they parted, she felt a heaviness in the center of her chest, “I really do love you Ben.”

“I love you Diane,” he touched her cheek gently, “are you sure everything’s okay?”

“It’s fine,” she nodded before forcing a small smile. She took a step back just memorizing the way he looked at her with such concern and love. How could she have been so stupid not to think that what they had would last? She never, ever should’ve let JT in, but now, well now she had to get the truth.

Mumbling her good-byes she reluctantly left his place on a mission to discover the truth. She had to know that her one mistake wouldn’t ruin the rest of her life. She just had to find a way to keep that from happening because she wasn’t about to lose Ben--not now, not ever. Her hands were shaking when she forced her key into the driver’s side door.

Refusing to look back over her shoulder Diane hopped into her car and drove to one of the drug stores at the other edge of town. She couldn’t risk running into Ben and coming to this particular place upped the chances of Ben not knowing about her deception. She said a silent prayer when she pulled into a parking spot. This just had to turn out her way--she couldn’t be pregnant.

“This is all just a really, really bad dream,” she tried to convince herself, yet the reality that surrounded her still swelled in the air around her. She began to pull her keys out of the ignition when she heard the commercial on the radio.

“Expecting? Ready to begin a family? Well if you are ready to have a bundle of joy in your life, then head on down to Babies Superstore where…”

“No,” Diane snapped practically slamming the radio off with her index finger. She looked around the nearly empty lot and quickly shuffled out of the car. She rushed to the door, but then slowed herself down at the last moment not to let herself get too carried away. Standing taller, she reached for the door and walked inside the drug store ready to be as casual as possible about the whole situation.

“You can do this,” she mouthed to herself under her breath. She glanced over at the clerk flashing the woman a small smile before weaving her way through the store. She headed directly to where she needed to be. There they were. The pregnancy tests were just right in front of her ready for her to figure out where fate was taking her.

“Just pick it up already,” she silently urged herself. She reached out past the display of condoms when she heard a sound from behind her.

“I thought it was you that came in here right before I did,” Cathy Ashley’s voice squealed causing Diane to practically leap out of her skin.

“Cathy, what are you doing here in this part of town,” Diane questioned in an attempt to keep things cool and casual between them.

“I was actually just about to ask you the same thing,” Cathy glanced beyond where Diane stood to the shelves, “but I think it speaks for itself.”

“Huh?” Diane blinked back at her before glancing over to the pregnancy tests before her. She stood taller, dropping her hair back behind her shoulders before reaching over to a box of condoms, “Oh yeah, well you know how Ben is. He’s absolutely insatiable and we’ve got something special planned today.”

“Oh I’ll bet,” Cathy eyed her skeptically watching Diane as if she was scrutinizing her every move.

“Well, now if you’ll excuse me, I have to get back to Ben,” Diane replied scooting past her and shuffling down the isle.

“Funny,” Cathy called out to her, “I didn’t see him in your car outside waiting for you.”

“Oh well that’s because he’s at home. He is planning this big, romantic dinner and well, well it’s something we’ve both really been looking forward to so I can’t be late,” Diane waved once again before rushing down the isle.

“I’m sure,” Cathy replied thinking about her seeing Diane eyeing the pregnancy tests earlier. Sure Diane had tried to cover with grabbing the condoms, but Cathy had seen that look of terror that had swept over Diane’s features. Could it be that her rival was fearing that things were getting too hot to handle in her life?

“I think it’s time to see just what you’re trying to hide Diane,” Cathy mouthed moving away from the isle. She noticed Diane up by the counter looking a bit perplexed.

Sensing that Diane was waiting for her to get lost, Cathy made her way over to the opposite end of the store. She noticed a clerk behind the pharmacy counter and she struck up a casual conversation with him. It didn’t take long however for Cathy to spot Diane returning to the isle once again--seemingly sneaking in another trip to the isle while Cathy talked to the semi-good looking pharmacist. Cathy continued to flirt away with the man before her trying to be casual, but out of the corner of her eye, she watched Diane race to the front counter with a home pregnancy test.

Clearly Diane was nervous. If she and Ben had been planning on a child Cathy had no doubt in her mind that Diane would be flaunting it in her face. However the look of sheer terror said it all as Cathy felt her long time rival about to get the shock of her life. It was almost poetic, yet to think that someone as sexy as Ben would be stuck with a witch like Diane was almost a pity in itself. Shrugging her shoulders Cathy glanced up in the mirrors overhead again to see the back of Diane’s head. In a matter of seconds Diane exited the store leaving Cathy to wonder just what else Diane had going on. Sure Diane might have a secret, but thanks to ever so perfect timing on her end, Cathy vowed to use this tidbit of knowledge to her advantage because she had a sinking suspicion that it might come in handy one day around the office.


“There you are,” Deidra stepped into Dean’s shower behind him, her toes touching the bottom of the shower before she let out a shrill, high pitched squeal, “Oh my gosh, it’s freezing in here. What are you trying to do to yourself? Make your body go numb?”

“Something like that,” Dean confessed in a low, brooding tone. Feeling the water pour over his head, he began to stand up straighter. He spun around to face her, feeling her arms stretch out behind him and tinker with the dials on the shower. The water temperature plummeted upward almost immediately.

“Much better,” she announced with a small smile shaking her head at him. She could see that his jaw was flexed tight, his mouth pinched together in a very unnatural fashion. Of course judging by the subzero temperatures he had in the shower, that in itself could explain the way he seemed to be on edge. Giving him a firm look, she dropped her fingertips over his abdomen, “I don’t know what I’m going to do with you now that you’re in here trying to freeze yourself to death.”

“I guess I was trying to find ways to keep my mind off of the possibility that you might be leaving,” he revealed forcing a small smile thinking of how true that statement really was. He felt her hands slide in over his body, her touch urging him towards her.

“Well, in that case your worries are over. They meant to call Dr. Cena instead of me,” she confessed with a simple shake of her head thinking back to the simple office mishap the hospital had made. While they‘d been apologetic, Deidra was still a bit irritated that they‘d found a way to interrupt her time with Dean. Of course once she‘d heard the shower still running when she‘d hung up the phone, thoughts of him naked and wet painted a deliciously glorious image in her mind. It was then that she sought out to find him and now that she was here, she was rambling. She was sure of it, “His pager is one number off from mine, so it was a mistake unless of course someone somewhere thinks that I’d make a good podiatrist. Though emergency surgery in that aspect might prove to be a bit of a challenge.”

“To say the least,” he wrapped his arms around her, feeling the warmth of the water over his body. The steam slowly filled the icy chill that he’d immersed himself in earlier.

“So, now that you’re going to have me for a bit longer,” she began with a small smile sliding her arms around his shoulders in a seductive movement, “whatever are you going to do with me?”

“Wouldn’t you like to know,” Dean offered up a cryptic smile, a moment of silence engulfing the space between them before something shifted inside of him. He curled his fingers down around her waist before whipping her in against the shower wall in a lightening-quick movement.

Deidra felt her breath escape from her lips in a heated gasp. She opened her mouth to speak only to discover her throat had grown dry with anticipation. He stepped forward, his dark eyes filled with a renewed hunger for her. She could sense it in the air, feel it in the tingling in her stomach as he made the first contact with her body. His fingers teased in over her abdomen ever so gently, in a barely there movement.

“Have I ever told you how beautiful I think you are,” he questioned in a low whisper, “or how I never thought someone like your ex was worthy of a woman like you?”

“I know that now,” she confessed thinking about her soon to be ex-husband. She opened her mouth to speak again but found herself cut off by Dean’s lips in over her neck.

“No, I don’t think you do,” he shook his head, fanning his fingers out over her body, “but you’re going to soon.”

With that declaration, Deidra felt him lace her fingers in his before thrusting her hands up over her head. She felt him push her back against the shower wall again. His hips bumped against hers, body pinning her more completely beneath him. He held her wrists with his right hand while his left swept over her breast. He cupped her, felt desire riding over her before he leaned forward tasting her lips once more. She arched forward seeking out his kiss, but much to her dismay he pulled away from her. Their eyes connected once again before he released her dropping down to his knees before her.

“I love you,” he murmured against the warmth of her thigh, his nose nuzzling her body before taking the time to show Deidra just how sexy and tantalizing he thought her to be. So maybe tonight he couldn’t face the truth, but for now he was just going to take the time loving the woman that fate had brought into his life.


Brant sat on the Ashford jet sipping the champagne he’d requested earlier in an attempt to calm his nerves. Closing his eyes he thought about what would be waiting for him in Atlantic City. He had no idea what predicament his sister had found herself in prior to winding up in jail, but he would see to it that something like this never happened again. After spending most of his adult life trying to protect her from such a fate, Brant would be damned if he’d allow her to be tarnished by the Ashford curse.

“You deserve better little sister and one way or another I’m going to try to pull you out of this mess with as little damage as possible,” Brant vowed hearing the faint ringing of his cell phone in his jacket pocket. Swiftly he reached for it wondering if it was Avery calling him again. She hadn’t been thrilled about being left behind, but this was truly something he needed to do on his own--something that he couldn’t ignore any longer. Sighing he answered the phone ready to explain that to her all over again, but instead he was met by another voice on the line.

“Mr. Ashford, I hope this isn’t a bad time,” the man began apologetically causing Brant to sit up straighter.

“No, it’s not a bad time at all,” Brant replied setting his glass of champagne down on the table top beside him, “Just tell me you have good news for me.”

“Unfortunately I don’t,” the man replied before hesitation, “although on the bright side I don’t have any really horrible news for you. We’re kind of in limbo at this point in time.”

“And why is that,” Brant’s jaw tightened for a moment.

“I looked up that name and address you gave me--even went down to the city records and dug around a bit, but no one by that name lives there. It’s as if she up and vanished,” the man explained apologetically, “No one seems to know what happened to her.”

“Now that is bad news,” Brant scowled curling his fingers tighter around the phone, “but I trust you’ll find a way to remedy this situation. You’ll keep looking and find what I asked you to.”

“Of course I will,” the man promptly replied eagerness in his tone, “It will just take a bit longer than we expected.”

“Well given that I’ve got a few things on my plate at the moment, I suppose a small delay won’t pose too much of a problem, but see to it that it’s not an indefinite delay,” Brant warned his tone firm and unyielding, “because I would hate to have to think that you failed me at a time like this.”

“I wouldn’t dream of it,” the man replied before questioning further, “What about that other situation?”

“It’s been taken care of,” Brant replied proudly thinking about his latest solution to some of the problems going on back at the Ashford home, “Right about now Ken should be receiving the first taste of intervention if you will.”

“Does he have any idea about any of this?” the man questioned curiously.

“Not a clue, but trust me it’s good for him. So is everything else I’ve got planned. Just see to it that you do your part in all of this,” Brant warned once again before reaching for his champagne, “I would hate to see all my hard work go to waste on this one.”

“That won’t be the case Sir. Be rest assured on that,” the man replied offering up a few more pleasantries before Brant hung up the phone.

“Good,” Brant said to himself setting his phone onto the sofa beside him, “because I’ve got a lot riding on what happens today. If this doesn’t work, then I need to have a plan B.”

Brant looked around the jet before checking the time again. Surely Ken’s surprise would be well on it’s way to making it to him and Brant was sure it would cause quite a stir. It was exactly what Ken needed, Brant decided taking one more sip of his champagne as he tried to turn the focus back to Blake and what was happening with her. Today was about helping Blake and after that, well after that he’d have to take his plans for his brother into action. One way or another things were about to change in the Ashford household forever.


“It’s perfect,” Ken beamed with a wide grin as he held the telephone to his ear. He inspected the diamond necklace taking note of the extra detail that went into this priceless piece in his hand, “Thank you for getting on it promptly.”

“Of course Mr. Ashford and if you need anything else--any other services from us,” the manager from the jewelry store began.

“I’m fine for now. Thanks again,” Kenneth replied hearing the doorbell. Swiftly he hung up the phone before taking the time to admire the piece once more. Michelle was going to love it. That much he was certain of, he thought with another smirk snapping the lid shut on the black velvety box before rising from his chair. He heard the bell again and a scowl replaced his grin.

“Where the hell is everyone when you need them,” he cursed under his breath tucking the box under his arm. He checked the time. Michelle was earlier than he’d anticipated, but given that no one else was around this place, he was certain it had to be her. Oh how thrilled she was going to be when she saw the necklace. He was sure that once he’d presented her with this small token of his appreciation, the two of them would find their way to enjoying the day with one another much like they had the last time they’d been together. Of course today he had such plans for them and he was sure she was going to love every second of them.

“Today is going to be perfect for us beautiful,” he announced reaching out to open the door and greet her when he came face to face with one of the last people in the world that he expected to see.

“Kenneth,” Timothy Vaughn cleared his throat, his dark eyes looking unusually sullen as he stood before Kenneth on the front porch.

“Tim?” Ken blinked a few times wondering if he was still buzzing from this morning’s earlier hangover. There was no way that Caitlin’s father could be standing before him--at his home no less especially after the way Ken had run out of Caitlin’s funeral.

“I hope this isn’t a bad time,” Tim forced a small smile in an attempt to open conversation between them, “I’d hoped that we could have a few words with one another this morning. I know it’s a bit unexpected for me to just show up here, but when Brant called and said…”

“Brant called you?” Ken’s eyes widened clearly surprised at the latest stunt his brother pulled. He felt his astonishment transfer to an anger at knowing that Brant was once again trying to jerk his strings.

Tim sensed Ken’s uneasiness about his arrival and he spoke up once again, “Look Ken, I realize that this might be a difficult time and situation for the both of us, but I was hoping that maybe just maybe you and I could have a talk man to man. Yes, your brother might’ve called me, but this has been something I’ve wanted to do long before now. It’s just that after we lost Caitlin, well, I don’t think that we really had a chance to talk about things. Losing her as fast as we did, well it left us all feeling as if so many things were left unsaid, left unfinished and Ken, I would really like the chance to have some time with you one on one given that my little girl loved you like she did.”

Ken opened his mouth to speak wishing like hell he could push Tim away and make him leave, but even with Brant’s interference, he knew full well that he would never do such a thing. Here was the man who’d helped bring Caitlin in the world right before him and as Ken’s heart sank suddenly flooded by memories of his lost love, he did the only thing he opened the door wider.

“Come on inside,” Ken stepped aside knowing that while he’d been lost in a sea of denial, it was time to face whatever it was that Tim had flown all the way out here to say to him. He owed it to Caitlin to listen.


Avery paced around the library thinking about her conversation with Brant. While she fully understood why he needed to take the time to be with Blake and speak to her alone, she couldn’t help but find herself overcome by the nagging feeling that there was something else going on. Something just felt off. She couldn’t quite explain it, but there was this thing inside of her telling her that there was going to be trouble in Atlantic City. What kind of trouble she couldn’t be sure of, but the feeling was enough to motivate her to find a way out there.

“That’s it,” Avery announced reaching for her jacket. Whether Brant liked it or not she was going out there to help him with Blake. She’d try not to interfere and sit on the sidelines long enough to keep Brant from killing Seth. Yes, that was the plan indeed and if he’d already taken off from the airport, she’d just book herself a flight.

“I’m sorry Brant, but I know you need me now more than ever,” Avery announced sliding into her jacket ready to go off after her husband. She collected her purse vowing to pick up a few essentials on the way to the airport, but for now she had to find Brant. Rushing to the front door, she threw it open only to discover Grady standing before her.

“Grady,” Avery gasped immediately remembering her worries about not hearing from him. She stood frozen in the moment taking a long look at his tired face. She noticed a scratch over the center of his forehead and a frown touched over her lips, “Oh my God. Where have you been? I tried calling and calling, but got no answer. I was starting to think that you were dead or that you were…”

“Avery, listen to me,” Grady began stepping into the foyer. He reached out to touch her shoulders firmly, “I realize that you have a lot of questions, but right now I need your help. It’s vital that you just shut up and listen to me.”

“Grady I…” she started to argue with him once again.

“Avery please,” Grady begged of her, “Jade’s life could depend on what happens in the next few minutes, so please don’t fail me now.”


“Alright, it’s time to get out of here,” an officer unlocked the cell as all three girls went to walk out before the cop stopped Sarah and Blake, “Not you two, just her.”

“You have to be kidding me right?” Sarah questioned seeing the cop shake his head. “She is the only one that was bailed out of here.”

“I can’t believe this,” Sarah sighed walking back towards the bench and laying down.

“Don’t worry Blake, I will take care of Seth for you,” Valerie laughed stepping out of the cell watching the officer lock the cell back up, “Why you rot here, I will be with Seth.”

“Shut your mouth Valerie,” Blake snapped trying to grab Valerie through the gaps between the bars.

“Sorry Blake, but you know I am right,” Valerie grinned widely seeing Sarah get up from the bench and walk towards the bars, “Next time you want to finish what we started, I’ll be ready.”

“You better watch what you say Valerie,” Sarah stated seeing a wide smile spread across her features, “Next time you aren’t going to end up in jail. Next time you are going to be ending up at the local hospital.”

“I’ll hold that thought,” Valerie stepped closer seeing the anger build behind Sarah’s face, “But now I must go see Seth. I’m sure he is just dying to talk to me alone.”

“Right,” Blake snapped as Valerie began to walk down the hallway, “The only way he is going to be dying is if he sees your face.”

“I can’t stand that woman,” Sarah shook her head going back and sitting down, watching Blake begin to pace the room.

“Do think something is really going to happen with her and Seth?” Blake questioned quickly and starting up again not even allowing Sarah time to answer. “What if we are stuck in here for a long time?”

“First thing, we wont be stuck in here because Seth said his cousin was coming,” Sarah reminded Blake watching her lean against the wall worriedly, “And if you are worried about Seth and whatever her name is…are you forgetting that Kyle is with Seth? Kyle hates her; I don’t think he could stand her around him.”

“I know,” Blake nodded slowly before taking in a deep breath, “I guess there is always that fear. Do you ever have that fear with Kyle?”

“What fear? You mean the fear that some girl is going to steal him?” Sarah questioned seeing Blake nod slowly. “Sure there is the thought that Kyle is a sexy guy and a lot of girls think he is hot, but no. I have never had a doubt in my mind that he would get with a different girl.”

“Why do you say that?” Blake wondered seeing Sarah shrug before smiling widely.

“Because Kyle loves me and I can see it,” Sarah answered with a small laugh, “The same thing I see everyday with Seth whenever he is with you. I know he loves you Blake and that is something that you should never doubt.”

“I love him too,” Blake began to explain before taking in a slow breath, “I just really hate that woman.”

“Don’t we all?” Sarah questioned with a small laugh seeing Blake nod. “Now let’s think happy thoughts while we wait for that cousin to get here. Which I am sure will be in a few minutes.”

“Hopefully you are right,” Blake sighed folding her arms out in front of her as she looked around the cell, “I hate having to spend more time in here while that woman is out there.”


“You think your cousin is coming anytime soon?” Kyle questioned trying to get comfortable in the chair before letting out a big yawn seeing Seth lean forward.

“I hope so,” Seth sighed looking up and seeing a big figure walk through the doors, “Speaking of my cousin.”

“Where is he?” Kyle questioned seeing Seth stand up and greet the person who had just walked in. Kyle glanced for a long second before realizing where he has seen this guy before.

“Kyle, this is my cousin, Kevin,” Seth introduced them as Kyle watched Kevin take his sunglasses off.

“I already know him,” Kevin replied as Kyle stood up facing him, “You put up one of the best fights I have ever been in.”

“This is your cousin?” Kyle questioned pointing towards Kevin seeing Seth nod slowly.

“I am a little confused right now,” Seth looked between Kyle and Kevin, both men never let their glares off of each other, “Would you care to explain to me what is going on?”

“Yeah, I will tell you what is going on,” Kyle glanced over at Seth before looking back to Kevin, “Your cousin attacked me when I was away. You know, when I saved Grady.”

“Yeah,” Seth nodded slowly before seeing Kevin smile and slide his sunglasses into his jean pocket.

“What your friend Kyle is leaving out though, he followed me around the island the whole day,” Kevin informed Seth as Kyle stepped forward.

“You broke some of my ribs,” Kyle informed Kevin seeing Kevin raise his eyebrow in humor.

“I didn’t even go hard on you,” Kevin laughed shaking his head slowly, “You are the one who gave me eight stitches on my side.”

“I told you I didn’t mean to do that,” Kyle reminded him seeing him nod, “If you weren’t on my back, I wouldn’t have flipped you over onto that table.”

“Like I said, I didn’t even go hard on you,” Kevin repeated what he said earlier seeing Kyle roll his eyes.

“Right,” Kyle nodded slowly before rubbing the back of his neck slowly, “So which one wasn’t going hard? Was it when you tackled me through that steel door or was it when you nearly chocked me to death. Those are the two I seem most stuck on.”

“Would you two stop,” Seth begged holding the both of them back seeing the anger behind both of their faces, “Could we not act like we are teenagers please?”

“I can’t help it if your friend is a baby and won’t hit anyone,” Kevin laughed seeing Kyle roll his eyes.

“If you are talking about when I didn’t hit you when you were begging me to,” Kyle started with a sigh, “You were bleeding really badly and I didn’t want to hurt you.”

“I still could have taken you on,” Kevin replied with a small scowl trying get out of Seth’s grasp.

“Stop it,” Seth snapped looking towards Kyle, “You are going to have to deal with Kevin being my cousin.”

“Fine,” Kyle agreed stepping back watching Seth look towards an angered looking Kevin.

“And whatever you two have between each other,” Seth started to talk up seeing that Kevin was listening, “It needs to end. Kyle is one of my best friends and you are like a brother to me. I need both of your help right now.”

“Okay,” Kevin breathed in deeply taking a step back seeing Seth nod slowly.

“Now shake hands proving that this thing is over,” Seth demanded hearing both of them begin to protest.

“You are pushing this Seth,” Kevin shook his head quickly seeing Kyle shrugging.

“You have to be kidding right?” Kyle questioned seeing Seth shake his head slowly.

“Now, for me,” Seth raised his eyebrow seeing the two men take a step forward.

“I can’t believe I am doing this,” Kevin growled under his breath extending out his hand, “We should make this snappy.”

“Right,” Kyle nodded looking over to Seth who was motioning him to go on before he shook Kevin’s hand.

“Good,” Seth smiled sitting back down in his chair, “Now apologize to each other.”

“Okay Seth,” Kyle laughed shaking his head slowly, “Now you really are pushing it.”

“Sadly,” Kevin sighed taking a seat, “I really have to agree with your friend here.”

“Suit yourselves,” Seth shrugged watching Kyle sit a seat apart from Kevin, “But I think you two could make really great friends.”

“Right,” Kevin laughed looking over at Kyle who was looking away from him, “I don’t think we stand a chance.”

“Not a damn chance,” Kyle repeated what Kevin said looking towards Seth, “So you should stop while you are ahead.”



...to be continued...