Episode 216

“Oh my god,” Cori sighed after Diego took a seat next to her tiredly, “We finally got rid of her.”

“Yeah,” Diego frowned thinking of all the times Shannon had come to him about Don, “She is having a lot of trouble with Don. I just don’t think she thinks she can fall in love with anyone. It‘s obvious that she feels something for him, but I don’t think she wants to believe it.”

“Tell me about it,” Cori stated with a small laugh before looking at the clock on Diego’s wall, “She really can talk a lot. So much for not taking too long.”

“She can get a little overboard sometimes when she gets started. Don‘t get me wrong, I really like Shannon, but sometimes she just doesn‘t see what‘s best for her,” Diego informed her with a small shrug, “She just needs a little push to help her along. Someone to help her.”

“A little push?” Cori questioned with small laugh. “I think that woman needs a big push so she could get the guts to go to that man and tell him how she really feels.”

“You would think she could do it,” he shrugged before yawning and stretching his arms out, “but she just doesn’t.”

“Hopefully she gets back with him,” she folded her arms out in front of her slowly, “I think she needs to be with him so she can finally be happy for once.”

“I hope so. So, you just want to watch a movie or something tonight?” he wondered after seeing her yawn widely. “You alright?”

“Yeah,” she nodded rubbing her forehead lightly, “A movie sounds like a great idea because I have a really bad headache right now.

“You want some medicine? I can go get you some if you would like,” he offered up seeing her shake her head. “Will you be okay for now?”

“Yeah, I’m fine,” she assured him as he got up slowly, “What movie are you planning on making us watch? It better not be boring.”

“It won’t be, I promise. I don’t know what we should watch,” he shrugged, walking over towards his movies, “I have a lot to choose from here.”

“Just pick one randomly,” she suggested seeing him nod and reach into the pile of movies, “What did you get?”

“I picked out Con Air,” he answered seeing her hands clap, “I take it that you like that movie…a lot.”

“I think it is one of the greatest movies around,” she replied with a small laugh, “I think the main character is an example of the perfect father. Oh, and the bad guy is great. I think that he…”

“Okay,” he held his hands up in the air before she could say anything else, “We’ll just watch this movie, since you like it so much.”

“Cool,” she smiled back, watching him put the movie in the player and then come back and take a seat next to her. “Diego?”

“Yeah?” he questioned looking down at her seeing her shrug. “Everything okay?”

“I just wanted to say that it feels really good to be hanging out with you again,” Cori sighed before starting up again, “I really missed seeing you while I was gone.”

“Me too,” Diego winked before seeing the movie start, “The movie is coming on.”

“Okay,” she nodded, snuggling in closer to him as he wrapped his arm around her shoulder tightly.


“Home at last,” Angela announced pushing Nick back into the front door before assaulting him with enthusiastic kisses. They were not even half way over the threshold before Angela had his shirt up over his head. She tossed it across her living room before shoving him inside forcefully. Kicking the door shut behind her, she marched towards him, reaching out to claim him in another heated embrace.

Caught off guard by the movement, Nick stumbled backwards onto her sofa with her in his arms. As they parted he let out a small chuckle squeezing her closer to him, “It feels good to be home, doesn’t it?”

“It feels more than good to be here with you like this,” she admitted leaning in to kiss him again, fire burning through her veins like a spark of electricity arching out of control as she longed to lose herself in him especially after he’d proposed to her.

“I’m glad to hear that,” he couldn’t help but grin kissing her once more before shifting on the couch cushions with her in his arms. Once he was settled in with her beside him, he touched her face gently, “because I wanted to see you happy like this for a long time.”

“I’m beyond happy,” she turned towards his touch kissing the palm of his hand eagerly, “and if you give me five minutes to get you undressed, I intend to show you just how very happy I am.”

“And I’m sure that I’m going to enjoy that,” he replied feeling her hands tugging on the top button of his jeans. He reached out to place his hand over her wrist, “but before we get to that, I think there’s something else we should do.”

“What’s that?” she questioned licking her lips as the memory of his bar top dance flashed through her mind.

“We need to talk about something that neither one of us can ignore in all of this,” he hesitated knowing full well that now wasn’t exactly the time to bring it up, but he couldn’t leave it unsaid. He saw the worry behind her dark eyes and in that moment he knew she was aware of where he was headed with this halt on passion.

“Kevin,” she blurted out with a small frown feeling herself suddenly uneasy. She shifted beside him, a small chill creeping in over her.

“Yeah, Kevin,” he nodded back, “I don’t think he’s going to be too happy about this turn of events, now is he?”

“He’ll get used to it,” she shrugged looking away from him all the while knowing full well that her best friend was going to be just a tad bit upset to learn that Nick had proposed and she’d accepted while he was away.

“Yeah, I’m sure he will. He’ll be as used to it as he would be having another hole in his head,” Nick groaned inwardly, “We have to tell him.”

“I know,” she nodded before inhaling slowly, “but right now he’s got a lot on his plate with his cousin being missing and…”

“And I know that you would want him to know. He’s your best friend and I think he has a right to hear the news from you before anyone else,” he spoke encouragingly squeezing her in his arms, “If he gets back here and someone else decides to spill the beans before you have…”

“He’s going to feel betrayed and hurt that I didn’t include him in on this,” she nodded in agreement, “Still, I don’t think that now is the time to…”

“I’m not saying right this minute, but we’re going to have to find a way to at least break the news to him gently. I mean I know he hates me and all, but…” he began with a small frown.

“He doesn’t hate you. He’s just been protective of me most of my life and…” she started to explain Kevin’s action to him.

“And deep down there’s a part of him that’s always kind of been in love with you and that part of him isn’t going to be happy about us getting married,” Nick replied matter of fact as he thought about the way Kevin behaved around Angela. “Don’t tell me that you didn’t know.”

“I’m not saying that,” she pulled away from him sitting up straighter before a shiver crept in over her spine, “but with Kevin, it’s complicated.”

“Complicated how?” he asked rubbing his hand over her back gently.

“I love Kevin,” Angela confessed closing her eyes and taking in a deep breath. She forced herself to look at Nick and explain, “I really do and I’m not going to lie to you about that. I’m not going to pretend that I don’t or that I don’t consider him one of the most important people in my life.”

“I wouldn’t want you to feel that you had to,” he answered watching the turmoil behind her eyes.

“It’s just that…” she paused contemplating how to say things to him, “You see Kevin was the first man I ever let myself fall in love with.”

“I see,” Nick nodded feeling the passion that had been between them fade off a bit as the conversation grew serious.

“When I was young, really, really young, my father brought him in to protect me--to keep me out of trouble you see,” she fidgeted with her fingers in her lap, “but I had other plans. I wanted like hell to find a way to get Kevin to notice me. I did everything I could think of to get him to want me. You name it and I did it. Every pathetic thing you could think of I tried it, but he wouldn’t budge. It took years for me to break him if you will and on my eighteenth birthday I decided I wanted to celebrate becoming an adult by making Kevin the first man I made love with. Sure, I’d dated a lot of guys and fooled around a lot, but Kevin was what I wanted. He was so hell-bent on keeping me away because I was too young for him, but I kept pushing and pushing…”

“So you two were lovers,” Nick questioned unsteadily feeling her stand up from where she sat. She paced around the room bringing her fingers through her dark hair.

“Yeah, but not because he was trying to take advantage of the situation. I was the one desperately trying to take advantage of him and eventually my gamble paid off,” she explained taking in a long, slow breath, “We were together for a while before it came to an end. My father would’ve killed him if he had any idea of what was going on between us because it wasn’t allowed.”

“So you two ended things before either one of you had closure,” Nick questioned curiously not wanting to hear it, but knowing he needed to have the truth if he and Kevin were ever going to find a way to be civil with one another after today.

“Not exactly, but after my father died, well, he was going through a bitter divorce and we came together again,” she explained further continuing to pace around the room, “We weren’t together all that long, but it was enough for me to know how I felt about Kevin.”

“That you love him,” Nick hesitated feeling a strange unsettling feeling in his stomach, “That you’re still in love with him?”

“I love him yes,” she explained with a nod, “but I’m not in love with him. I thought I was for more than half of my life, but when it came down to it Kevin was and is the best friend I’ve ever had in my life. I would be lost without him and to even think about not having him beside me, well I don’t know how I’d go on.”

“And Kevin…” he hesitated, “Does he know how you feel?”

“I thought he did, but…” she paused guilt riding over her, “After I found out I was pregnant I was a mess. I told Kevin about it and no one else and I guess I leaned on him far too much than I should’ve. I never should’ve been so dependent upon him and now, well now I feel like I may have sparked up something inside of him that we had before when Michelle left him. I mean with Kevin, we’re always going to be friends first and foremost, but when he’s single and I’m single, I think deep down we both at times have thought that we’d just kind of wind up together, but it’s not because we’re in love with one another. We just like the idea of having someone to be in love with. Now that I’ve found you and Kevin’s been without someone…”

“He feels like I’m stealing the great love of his life,” Nick ran his fingers through his dark hair, “which means that he’s going to want to kill me all the more when he gets back.”

“No, he’s not going to want to kill you. He’s going to be happy for us. Trust me on this one. It’s just going to take him some time to get used to this,” she moved to sit in beside him once again, “It’s going to take everyone some time to adjust.”

“Does that mean you regret saying yes?” he questioned shakily turning to look at her.

“No, not at all,” she half smiled reaching out to touch his face, “I wanted to say yes and I’m glad that I did. I really do want to marry you Nick.”

“Even knowing that it could upset Kevin,” he replied searching her eyes for the truth behind her heart.

“I love Kevin and I’ll always love Kevin, but I’m in love with you,” she leaned in to kiss him tenderly, “and with Kevin, he might feel like he’s in love with me, but he’s not. Right now he’s just stuck in a rut and I’m positive that sooner or later the right woman is going to come along and when she does, I can promise you he’s going to be glad that you came by to keep me distracted so he doesn’t have to worry about me so damned much.”

“He likes worrying about you,” Nick threw out a pointed look.

“He does, but at the same time, he’s already given up so much of his life already. I don’t want to see him lose his chance for happiness in wasting his time waiting around for me to stop being such a drama queen. He deserves to be happy,” she shifted onto his lap curling her arms around his shoulders before leaning in closer to him, “and so do we Nick. I do love you.”

“I love you too and I just want what’s best for you,” he whispered kissing her lovingly.

“You’re what’s best for me. I’m sure of it,” she whispered kissing him again, feeling the beginnings of passion returning to them as she pondered how she was going to break the news about her engagement to Kevin. Somehow nothing seemed appropriate, but sooner or later she was certain that everything would work out for the best. It had to.


“So there I was up to my knees in mud and they just left me there,” Trisha explained waving her hands around, “Seth, Ben and Ria just took off and never looked back.”

“We did not,” Seth defended himself as Trisha told her twisted version of their youth. “We just went for help.”

“Yeah right,” Trisha rolled her eyes, “That’s why about half an hour later Jade showed up and pulled me out of the mud. And they tell you that it’s a lot of fun being the youngest. Yeah right.”

“Hey, you were the one who insisted that you walk that way home when we told you clearly that it wasn’t a good idea,” Seth argued with Trisha, “It’s your own fault.”

“Ah yes, spoken like a man. Everything is our fault,” Trisha shook her head at his words before waving her hand dismissively. She looked to Blake with a sudden seriousness, “Are you sure you want to marry this moron?”

“More than anything,” Blake replied brightly leaning into Seth on their side of the booth.

“Wow, then he’s got you more fooled than I thought humanely possible. He’s not the hero he pretends to be,” Trisha replied sipping her drink again.

“He’ll always be my hero,” Blake added tipping her head up to kiss Seth briefly.

“Oh boy, this is why I’m so not getting serious about a man,” Trisha groaned shaking her head at Blake and Seth, “As soon as you fall head over heels, you really truly lose your head. There’s a perfect example sitting right before me tonight. I mean I’m sure Blake was reasonably bright before she got caught up with Seth.”

“Hey now, that’s my cousin you’re badmouthing,” Kevin objected in a teasing tone, “I taught him most of what he knows, so you’d better be careful with the insults.”

“Ah, so we know who is truly to blame,” Trisha teased before swatting his arm gently. “Shame on you!”

“Shame on Kevin?” Seth practically choked on his drink, “No shame on you. Did you not learn any good manners? It isn’t proper for you to insult the man who just paid for your drink.”

“Hmm, well in that case I’m doing just fine here since Kevin was the one that bought this, not you,” Trisha stuck her tongue out at Seth before resting her head on Kevin’s arm, “Thank you for that again by the way.”

“It’s not a problem although I don’t want you to think I’m into corrupting the youth of today because I’m not,” Kevin replied feigning seriousness.

“Believe me Kevin,” Trisha leaned in closer to him resting her hand on his leg, “I’m well beyond being the youth of today. I’m very legal and I have the identification to prove it.”

“Oh and what a line that is,” Seth roared with laughter at Trisha’s attempts at enticing Kevin. He motioned to his cousin with another wild laugh, “Well now we know that she’s no longer jail bait for you--just barely that is.”

“Bite me Seth,” Trisha glared at him, “I mean really you’re getting on my last nerve.”

“And I’m sure your date thinks that you got lost in here,” Seth leaned forward on the table top, “though what kind of man is he if he can’t even come back inside to check in on you?”

“He’s history,” Trisha matched his glare, “I text messaged him a while ago and told him to split. Something better came along.”

“Is that right?” Seth’s eyes widened before he looked to Kevin again, “You’d better watch out for her. She’s out to get you in trouble with Ria tonight.”

“Not if I can help it,” Kevin laughed lightly maintaining a bit of distance between him and Trisha despite her obvious attempts to persuade him into a night of sin.

“Oh Kevin, come on I gave up a really good opportunity to be near you. Don’t tell me you’re not going to at least give me a chance here,” Trisha flashed him a sultry smile once again.

“I’ll share a drink with you sweetheart, but there’s no way in the world I’d face the wrath of your sister in giving you what you’re looking for tonight,” Kevin replied with a sudden seriousness, “I’m not that stupid.”

“Oh please,” Trisha waved her hand dismissively once again, “It’s not like I’m a little girl anymore. The way I see it I’m a woman who is clearly capable of making her own choices and decisions and…”

“Son of a bitch!” Kevin cursed under his breath causing Trisha to nearly jump out of her seat.

“Gees, Kevin a simple no would have done,” Trisha scoffed. “You didn’t have to get so huffy.”

“It’s not you sweetheart,” Kevin offered up a sympathetic smile before sliding out of his side of the booth.

“What’s that all about?” Trisha frowned at his retreat.

“I’m not sure,” Seth’s gaze followed Kevin as he marched out towards the middle of the dance floor, “Oh boy.”

“Seth, what is it?” Blake questioned feeling Seth’s arm untangle from it’s place around her shoulders.

“We’re about to have some trouble,” Seth answered quickly before chasing off after Kevin, who was now making an obvious approach towards a blonde in the crowd.

“Who is that?” Blake asked wondering what the fuss was about.

“I don’t know. One minute they were here and then the next…” Trisha started ready to say something more when she caught a glimpse of the object of Kevin’s interest. “Oh boy.”

“Do you know her?” Blake replied curiously as Trisha’s frown intensified.

“Yeah, I know the skank. She’s Kevin’s ex-wife,” Trisha explained sourly slumping down in her seat, “which means I’m really going to strike out tonight.”


“What the hell are you doing here?” Kevin demanded not bothering to excuse himself as he yanked Michelle away from the man she was dancing with. He pulled her out of the thick of the crowd, his dark eyes full of rage and irritation.

“Kevin,” Michelle spoke his name with the same condescending slur that he’d at one time thought to be endearing, but now, well now it was like nails on the chalkboard especially now that he’d encountered her in Coral Valley. “What a pleasant surprise!”

“The hell it is,” Kevin’s jaw clenched tighter. While he’d thought that he’d had something to say to her when he’d first approached her, now he found himself at a loss wondering why he’d bothered. Here he was miles from home--far from anything that would even come close to resembling his old life and there out of the blue, in this place of all places here she was--the woman who ripped his heart to shreds.

“Still your same pleasant self I see,” she rolled her eyes at him, “What’s the matter sweetheart? Are you still upset about that settlement we made during the divorce?”

“You mean how you tried to rob me blind after you had the gall to cheat on me,” Kevin snapped back at her, the old wounds tearing at his insides.

“Oh Kevin, you are always the drama queen,” Michelle shook her head at him, “Honestly who the hell do you think you are bothering me tonight when I’m out trying to have a good time? What are you doing? Stalking me?”

“You wish,” Kevin snarled back at her, “I was merely hoping that you weren’t really here because I was starting to enjoy my night for a change.”

“Ha, that’s funny because from what I remembered you never enjoyed yourself, or gave anyone else any type of enjoyment for that matter,” she spoke callously her eyes giving him a long once over.

“No sweetheart, that’s what they all said about you and unfortunately I found out the hard way, they were right,” Kevin added before looking to the man that Michelle was dancing with moments earlier, “Hey buddy, you might want to end this date sooner rather than later because all she wants to do is get into your pants--for your wallet that is.”

“Kevin!” Michelle hissed at him ready to strike at him when Seth pulled him aside.

“Okay, I think we’ve seen more than enough here,” Seth moved in between the two of them in an attempt to calm his cousin down.

“Oh would you look at this? Now Seth is playing your bodyguard?” Michelle taunted him further, “That’s cute really.”

“Shut up Michelle,” Seth glared at her.

“I’m telling you buddy you should be taking notes on this one,” Kevin continued to speak to Michelle’s clearly flabbergasted date, “This one is an ice queen and she’s nothing but trouble. Big trouble!”

“Go to hell Kevin. You don’t have any say in my life anymore,” Michelle threw another glare out at him before moving in beside her date once again, “Don’t listen to him. He’s just a big, fat sour puss who is angry that I dumped him.”

“In your dreams Michelle,” Kevin called out after her watching her move towards the door in the hopes of getting her date clear out of earshot of Kevin, “Fine. You’re on your own there with her buddy, but she’s a viper. She’ll take you for all your worth if she can!”

“Kevin!” Seth snapped his name trying to bring Kevin back to reality, “Forget about her. She’s not worth it. She never was.”

“You’re right,” Kevin nodded, anger still burning through his veins, “She’s not worth it.”

“Exactly, so why don’t we get back over to the table, pay our tab and then we’ll head on out of here? There’s no point in sticking around to put up with that,” Seth tried to persuade Kevin over towards the table once again.

“What a bitch,” Trisha blurted out rushing over to Kevin’s side, “Hey handsome, are you alright?”

“I’m fine,” Kevin lied feeling her finger curl around his arm in an attempt to coax him back to the table. He cast a glance out over towards the exit seeing Michelle trying to talk her date into leaving with her.

“No, you’re not,” Trisha shook her head, “but don’t worry after a few drinks, you won’t have to think about that bitch.”

“I’m not thinking about her,” Kevin argued pasting on a fake smile before allowing her to take him back to the table, “In fact, drinks are on me this round.”

“You’re so on,” Trisha squealed chasing him around like a lost little puppy dog as Blake approached Seth.

“Um, what just happened here?” Blake questioned in a low voice.

“Let’s just say that there’s someone out there in the world who is a hell of a lot worse than Valerie and you just saw her up close and personal,” Seth replied knowing full well that having Michelle in the same town with Kevin was going to lead to nothing but trouble for everyone.


“It was kind of ironic how the both of us came here tonight, isn’t it?” Kipp questioned as he leaned back against the stage seeing people begin to leave.

“I know,” Jenna nodded before looking towards Kipp, “I am really glad you were here though because I really did want to talk to you.”

“What about?” Kipp questioned looking towards Kipp and Kellen who seemed to be having a chat.

“About us,” she answered seeing him look back at her, “About Douglas and us.”

“What about it?” he wondered seeing her think of something to say before answering.

“Well, I know that our…father isn’t a perfect person,” Jenna started seeing him nod showing her that he was listening, “Well, even though he kind of screwed up the family with his own quirks over the years, I think that we should still be friends because I want to get to know my brother more. If that makes any sense…”

“It makes a lot of sense Jenna and truth be told I like that idea,” Kipp nodded before looking over at Hart and Kellen, “I would like to get to know you better considering that I feel like I‘ve spent most of my life living in this world that Douglas created for me that‘s left me kind of wondering about the sanity of our family.”

“I often wonder that myself,” she admitted with a small smile, “but that probably isn’t that big of a surprise, is it?”

“Considering who our father is, no, it isn’t, but hey on the flip side, I honestly always wondered what it would be like to have a sister. We have another brother you know,” Kipp thought about JT for a moment.

“Yeah I ran into him,” Jenna replied stiffly.

“I take it he made quite the impression on you,” Kipp noted her expression, “Yeah, JT is like that at times. He’s rough around the edges, but somewhere deep inside he really has a heart.”

Jenna remained silent for a long moment before speaking up again, “Really?”

Kipp pondered it for a long moment before shaking his head, “No, not really, but I thought I’d try to be nice where he’s concerned. I just can’t do it though. He’s pretty much a chip off of the old block with Doug.”

“That’s what I was afraid of,” Jenna bit down on her lip nervously, “although I kind of already pieced that together myself.”

“Our father’s not all bad Jen. He’s just, well he’s got a lot of growing up to do. Hell, I had a lot of growing up to do. If you would’ve met me six months ago, you would’ve probably hated me to. Even I hated the man I’d become,” he paused thinking to his old ways, “but now, well I guess almost dying tends to change one’s perspective.”

“I think life in general changes us and that’s often a good thing. In some cases, it’s for the best,” Jenna replied glancing over at Hart lovingly.

“I take it there’s a story behind that boyfriend of yours considering the rumors I heard about him had him lower on the food chain than I was at one point in time,” Kipp noted with a small smile.

“He was, but he’s had an evolution,” Jenna laughed lightly before looking to him once again, “But what about you? What does the future bring your way Kipp?”

“Honestly, I’m still trying to figure it out. Life sure moves fast around you when you’re taking a step out of it,” he sighed bringing his hands up through his hair, “A lot has changed since I was in my coma.”

“And I’m sure a lot is still the same,” Jenna noted watching sadness creep in over his features.

“Unfortunately that’s more true than I care to admit at times,” Kipp sighed before offering up an encouraging smile, “but I’m working on fixing that. With good friends and good company I’m hoping to keep moving forward and getting my life back on track again.”

“I’m sure you will Kipp. You look like you’re on the road to recovery now,” Jenna added.

“I sure hope so,” Kipp replied glancing over at Kellen.

“So your friend Kellen is a pretty good guy, huh?” Jenna questioned seeing Kipp looking over at Kellen again.

“Yeah,” he answered before thinking back to when he was really hurt, “He was and is still one of the only people who still believe in me. He is still helping me through physical therapy with my leg and we just like to hang out…have fun. He likes a lot of the same things I do and he‘s one of the first people I‘ve met who doesn‘t look at me like I‘m their key to Douglas Mahoney. He‘s just a really great person with a big heart and I respect that about him. He‘s a lot of fun and very supportive.”

“I realized that,” she nodded slowly before seeing more people leave, “I think that he is a great friend if he brings you up.”

“He is a great friend,” Kipp agreed before laughing, “He would probably love to be your friend too. He would probably spend hours fixing your hair up for anything. He is pretty good at that you know and he loves to brag about it. He‘s got this whole style thing working for him and he‘s constantly trying to help me makeover every aspect of my life including my wardrobe. He loves to get involved in those sort of things. He‘s quite the planner.”

“Really?” she questioned seeing Kipp quickly nod. “I will have to remember that for the next time I have something big coming up.”

“He won’t mind helping you out,” Kipp insisted before looking down at his watch, “Wow, the time really went by quickly.”

“I guess we should get going then,” she suggested seeing him nod, “Well, let’s go talk to them before we go.”

“Alright and Jen,” Kipp began reaching out to touch her arm.


“I just thought you should know that regardless of what Douglas is--of what he chooses to do with his life, that’s not who we are. Don’t ever let anyone make you believe that for a second. I know sometimes it’s easy to get sucked into the drama, but I can see now that you’re better than that,” he offered up with a thoughtful expression, “Maybe that was one of the perks of being raised far away from him for most of your life.”

“You’re better than that too Kipp,” she added with a small smile, “You just don’t realize it yet.”

“I’m trying to, but I have a lot of mistakes to make up for before I can live free with a clear conscience, but I’m working on it,” he admitted before following her towards Kellen and Hart. Hopefully she was telling the truth, he was never really close to anybody in his family, but maybe with her it would be different.


“I still can’t believe that she wore that costume,” Hart growled looking at some of the men who seemed to be checking Sam out. “I can’t believe this?”

“Don’t worry,” Kellen came up from behind Hart, placing his hands on Hart’s shoulders, “Your daughter has her boyfriend with her, she won’t get with any of these losers.”

“Who said she was my daughter?” Hart questioned seeing Kellen raise his eyebrow. “I didn’t say she was my daughter.”

“Come on honey,” Kellen laughed before pointing towards Sam, “That pretty woman is either your girlfriend or your daughter. Since your girlfriend is with Kipp, I would guess that was your daughter because of the way you are looking at her.”

“You can’t just…” Hart began stumbled on words to say, only to see Kellen hold his hands up in the air.

“It’s okay,” Kellen smiled, shaking his head slowly, “I won’t tell, if you don’t tell.”

“How did you do that?” Hart wondered seeing Kellen shrug and take a step back to look at Sam once more.

“I have my ways,” Kellen declared with a small grin, “My guess is that she doesn’t know that you are her father.”

“Would you be a little quiet?” Hart questioned turning them away from Sam. “I don’t want her to hear anything and get suspicious.”

“Alright,” Kellen held his hands up in the air, running his finger across his own lips, “My lips are sealed. I won’t say a word.”

“Thanks,” Hart sighed looking back at Kipp and Jenna who seemed to be talking very closely.

“Hey, I know you,” Kellen snapped his fingers as Hart looked back at him and raised his eyebrows in curiosity.

“Of course you know me,” Hart laughed, shrugging his shoulders, “We just met today.”

“No, I met you earlier than today,” Kellen insisted seeing the confused look on Hart’s face, “You workout at my gym. I mean it‘s not my gym, but it‘s the gym I work at I mean…”

“Oh yeah,” Hart nodded with a small laugh after thinking it over for a moment, “You are the trainer right?”

“Yep, that’s me,” Kellen nodded, rubbing his hands together lightly, “You can usually find me walking around that place.”

“That must be cool working there,” Hart pointed out seeing Kellen shrug, “What could be wrong working there?”

“Well, there is this really annoying trainer named Burt that keeps following me around,” Kellen informed Hart before shrugging, “It’s like he is obsessed with me and he just isn’t my type.”

“If you ever need any type of legal advice,” Hart began, rubbing the back of his neck lightly, “You can always come to me. You’re a friend now, I don’t mind helping out.”

“Really?” Kellen questioned seeing Hart nod quickly. “Wow, that’s really nice of you. I will most likely be coming to you next time I see him.”

“It would be no problem to help you out,” Hart grinned seeing Jenna and Kipp begin to walk towards them, “Hey there.”

“Hey,” Jenna sighed as Hart wrapped his arm around her shoulder tightly.

“You ready to get going?” Kipp asked Kellen seeing him shrug. “It’s getting pretty late.”

“I would just hate to leave while I am having such a fabulous time,” Kellen frowned before leaning forward, giving both Jenna and Hart a hug, “It was nice meeting the two of you.”

“You too Kellen,” Jenna smiled before hugging Kipp, “I hope to be seeing you soon.”

“You too,” Kipp agreed before letting her go, “I will see you two soon then.”

“Alright,” Jenna nodded seeing Kellen and Kipp walk towards the door, “That was fun.”

“I’m glad you got to talk to him,” Hart whispered before kissing her gently, “You finally set things straight with him.”


“You know as much as I hate to admit it, I have a small confession to make,” Dave pulled Carly in closer to him as they sat in one of the beach chairs looking to the night sky above.

“What’s that?” she questioned dropping her head back lazily into his chest.

“That while being with Kayla feels like the greatest thing in the world, this is a very close second,” he confessed nuzzling his nose in the side of her neck before placing a tender kiss against her soft skin.

“Second best huh?” she questioned tipping her head back to look up at him as he held her.

“Okay, well maybe third,” he admitted with a tiny laugh. “There is one other thing that I remember between us that ranked up there off the charts if I do say so myself.”

“Oh yeah and what might that be?” she replied feigning innocence as she looked up to him once again.

“Well, it started with this,” he tipped her head back a bit further to collect her lips in his before he shifted her in his arms, “and then it grew into something a little like this.”

“I might have a vague recollection,” she replied moving in over him before a sound came from inside the house. Immediately she sat upright, her body on edge as she registered Kayla’s voice. “Kayla!”

Not hesitating Carly sprung off Dave’s lap and rushed back into the house to discover her daughter crying in bed. Moving in over to her side Carly scooped Kayla up into her arms. “Kayla honey, what is it?”

“I had a bad dream,” Kayla admitted tearfully, “I was so scared mommy and…”

“It’s okay princess,” Carly kissed the top of her head, “I’m here.”

“What about Dave?” Kayla asked with wide eyes, “Is he here too?”

“I’m right here,” Dave announced making his way into the room, “and just so you know I happen to have an expertise in making bad dreams go away.”

“A what?” Kayla gave him a sideways glance.

“It means you can tell me what your bad dream was and I will make it all go away,” Dave replied taking a seat beside her, “So tell me what your dream was about?”

“I don’t remember,” Kayla confessed rubbing her eyes, “but it was really, really scary.”

“Really, really scary huh?” Dave scratched his chin pretending to think it over, “Well, I think I know just the solution for that.”

“You do?” she asked wiping at her eyes again.

“I think I do,” Dave nodded, “Tell me something do you like to fly?”

“You mean like a jet plane in the sky?” Kayla asked eagerly.

“Yeah like a jet plane in the sky,” he nodded.

“Well, it sounds cool, but Dave I have to tell you something,” Kayla placed her hand on his knee with a matter of fact expression, “I’m not a jet plane. I’m a little girl and little girl’s can’t fly.”

“Says who?” Dave replied scooping her up into his arms and carrying her around the room in a flying movement. Kayla began to chuckle and wail enthusiastically as Dave instructed her to hold her arms out so that she could be a jet plane. He followed it up with buzzing noised that clearly helped Kayla feel the full effect of the idea he’d placed in her mind.

“Look mommy I’m flying!” Kayla squealed excitedly letting Dave guide her around the room.

Each time they got close to her bed, she repeated the words again and again until the point that Carly was convinced Dave would drop from exhaustion. Once they settled back onto Kayla’s bed, Carly couldn’t help but find herself filled with a warmth in her heart at the bond forming between Kayla and Dave.

“Again Dave. We need to do it again,” Kayla cheered with a bright grin, “and then I think you should read me a story. I heard they are good at getting rid of bad dreams too.”

“Oh really?” Dave couldn’t help but smile realizing that while Kayla was playing the situation for all it was worth, he was eating it up readily. Seeing her smile was enough to get him thinking about all the things he gave up in pushing himself full force into work. He’d almost had himself convinced that he didn’t need a personal life--that having a family was a dream that wasn’t meant for him, but now with Carly and Kayla that was all changing for them.

"Yeah I heard you're the best at stories Dave. Will you read me another one?" Kayla begged of him.

“I don’t know if Dave wants to read tonight,” Carly began wondering if Dave had enough of entertaining Kayla for the evening. “He might be tired.”

“Oh no I’m not tired,” Dave insisted brightly, “I think these arms are up for one more flight and then I’m positive I can find it in me to read a story.”

“The Perfect Little Piglet?” Kayla asked eagerly.

“I’ve never read that one before,” Dave replied as she pulled the book out from underneath her pillow.

“Oh you’re going to love it. It’s absolutely, totally the best,” Kayla promised holding the book out to him, “but first we fly.”

“Yes madam,” Dave nodded proudly before holding his arms out to her, “Ready for takeoff?”

“Boy am I ever,” Kayla squealed excitedly ready to continue to have fun with Dave for as long as he’d give her his attention. Despite the fact she should be sleeping, it was clear that she was having a good time and Dave was exactly what both Carly and Kayla needed at a time like this.


“You know you’re more insane than I am,” Grady chuckled with amusement shaking his head at Avery after she’d conjured up about half a dozen ways to approach Cameron in the future.

“Hardly,” she rolled her eyes at him, “They don’t make people any crazier than you are.”

“Is that right?” Grady jabbed at her throwing one of his toss pillows at her.

“That’s absolutely right,” she nodded in confession catching the pillow before it hit her. She shook her head at him before throwing out a small smile at his own laughter, “Who knew that this was even possible?”

“What’s that?” he questioned watching her lean back into his couch a bit further.

“That I’d actually see you smiling,” she confessed with a small sigh dropping her head back on the pillow behind her, “I guess I kind of forgot what this feels like with us just hanging out together like this--even if this wasn’t what we’d planned on.”

“Yeah me too,” he admitted thinking it over for a long moment, “I guess life just tends to get in the way sometimes.”

“Yeah well once we stop it from doing that and all is normal again, I hope that doesn’t mean you and I will go back to being enemies,” Avery replied a sudden seriousness in her tone.

“We haven’t been enemies for a long time Avery,” Grady leaned forward matching her movement. His green eyes saw the hint of sadness behind her brown eyes as well. “You know that.”

“Given the ups and the downs we’ve had, I wasn’t really sure for a while,” she admitted watching him reach out to take her hand in his.

“Hey, I might enjoy giving you hell, but it’s only because you make it so easy,” he teased with a small wink.

“See, there you go again making a joke of everything,” she swatted at him pulling her hand away from his, “I mean really Grady, I just don’t know what I’m going to do with you.”

“You want my honest opinion,” he questioned with a sudden seriousness that caused her to sit up a bit straighter.

“Yeah, I wouldn’t accept anything less,” she nodded awaiting his answer as he leaned towards her.

“Well, if I were you I would,” Grady inched in closer yet, his green eyes fixed on hers in a deep, penetrating stare.

“Yes?” she half questioned feeling the weight of his words holding over her.

“Well for starters I would,” Grady continued to ease in closer to her, sending a few Oreos onto the couch with his movement.

“Well? What are you waiting for?” she asked arching a curious brow, “I don’t have all day for an answer.”

“It’s quite simple Avery,” Grady remarked with a sly grin, “the one thing you should never do with me is trust me.”

Before Avery could say another word, she felt a pillow come crashing down on her head. She fell a bit backward before Grady tossed the pillow at her before moving back to where he’d been previously seated.

“Denton rule number one trust no one,” Grady mouthed reaching for one of the discarded Oreos and plopping it into his mouth.

“Yes and rule number two is especially not Grady,” she launched the pillow right back at his head, hitting him directly in the center of his face before she got up off of the couch, “You know you’re still the same bully that you always were.”

“And you’re still the same repressed one that doesn’t know how to kick back and have a good time,” Grady remarked with a frown.

“I thought we covered this already. I know how to have fun,” Avery shook her head at him. She watched him stretch out on his couch putting his legs up where she once sat.

“Of course you do,” Grady yawned bringing his arms back behind his shoulders. He plopped one leg over the other before letting out another exaggerated yawn. He closed his eyes and smirked, “It’s just keeping me on the edge of my seat.”

“I’ll give you the edge of your seat,” Avery leaned over to pull her half empty glass of milk up from the table. Stepping forward she dumped it over his head with an enthusiastic chuckle.

“Avery!” Grady shouted her name, shock rising up over his body at her attack. His eyes snapped open just in time to see her laughing hysterically at his reaction. “Oh you’re so going to pay for that one.”

“I was just trying to have fun and besides we need to stay focused,” Avery chuckled again only to see him spring up off of the couch in a quick snap.

“Oh I’ll show you focused,” he reached for his own glass before moving towards her in slow, calculated movements.

“You know now that you mention it, I think that it’s well past time for me to go home. You do look tired after all and I really think I’ve already overstayed my welcome, so I’ll just be heading,” she started reaching for her purse and making her great escape towards the door.

“Oh no you don’t. You’re not going anywhere Avery Morrison,” he announced leaping over the sofa in an attempt to keep her from leaving before he had his chance for payback. He raced towards her, but she was already halfway out the door when he snagged her arm pulling her back into his house.

“Just where do you think you’re going?” Grady questioned with an arched brow nudging her into the living room wall once again as he dangled the glass of milk over her head.

“Grady, you really don’t want to do that,” Avery began with wide eyes feeling the dampness of her own assault on him. He shook his head sending droplets of milk flying at her as he lifted the glass higher.

“Don’t I?” he teased wickedly feeling her writhe beside him in an attempt to break free.

“Grady, you really, really don’t want to…” Avery started to protest, but it was too late, she’d already created a monster and Grady was ready to deliver payback. She looked up to see him tipping the glass over and before she could think, she shoved her arm out from beneath him sending the glass flying in the opposite direction not only causing herself to get wet, but Grady as well in the process. Shock registered behind his eyes--behind her own as well until their laughter surrounded them. For a moment she was ten years old again screwing around with Russell’s older brother, with the man she’d considered like family for so very long and things felt decidedly simple…that was until another sound arose from the foyer.

“What in the hell…” Brant gasped from where he stood in Grady’s doorway now drenched with the brunt of the flying milk.

“Brant,” Avery gulped weaving her way out from underneath Grady’s arm. Quickly she ran her fingers through her long, dark hair, “what are you doing here?”

“I was looking for you,” he paused his gaze shifting between Grady and Avery, “though I could ask you both the same thing.”

“Oh we were just…” Avery began with a small, nervous laugh.

“Revisiting the past,” Grady finished with a smirk of his own knowing full well that Brant appeared to be less than impressed with that answer, but hey it was all he was going to get. Moving aside Grady motioned to the living room area, “Care to join us?”

“I don’t mind if I do,” Brant replied stiffly before turning to Avery, “I was worried when I got home and you weren’t there.”

“How did you know I was…” Avery began giving him a strange look as she wondered why he was standing in Grady’s foyer with her.

“I figured you might be over here since you were worried about Grady when I left,” he explained matter of fact.

“I was,” she nodded in agreement, “Grady showed up shortly after you left and…”

“And he thought he’d find a way to get you into a whole new world of trouble, yes?” he replied skeptically.

“Not exactly,” Avery shifted on her feet before Grady spoke up again.

“Actually we were just about to watch Jeopardy on the Game Show Network, but now that you’re here, we thought that maybe you could join us. I’m sure since you know almost everything, you could be a big help if we decide to play along online,” Grady remarked sourly reaching for the remote control, “So what do you say Brant? Are you in?”

“Given the day I’ve had, I think I’d just like to say to hell with it and call it a night,” Brant groaned inwardly, “No offense.”

“None taken,” Grady waved his hand dismissively, “besides I think your wife was itching to get back home anyways.”

“What happened?” Avery questioned ignoring Grady’s sudden irritability, “Is Blake okay?”

Brant nodded, “She’s fine, but it’s been a very long day,” he confessed with a shake of his head, “Not only did she and Seth not get married like they set out there to, but then it got worse when it turned out Seth is married already.”

“He’s what?” Avery’s eyes widened again.

“He’s got a wife that apparently he forgot to tell Blake about,” Brant grumbled in response, “though nowadays I guess I shouldn’t be shocked by something like that given what I’ve seen in his family.”

“What the hell is that supposed to mean?” Grady snapped tossing the remote control aside.

“I’m just saying that between him and his Neanderthal cousin, I’m starting to wonder if my sister isn’t better off without him,” Brant remarked sourly, “It seems like the longer Blake is with him, the more hurt she is these days.”

“I don’t think it’s for you to decide who she spends her time with,” Grady offered up with a scowl, “Seth’s a great guy. You should be happy for her.”

“Happy that she’s seeing a married man?” Brant threw back at him with a shudder, “Pardon me if I hold back on my enthusiasm there, but I don’t see that as a plus for her. A man with a wife isn‘t exactly what I dreamt for in my sister‘s life.”

“No, you’d much rather she be as miserable as you and Ken are, right?” Grady challenged getting up off of the couch again. “I mean who would dream that an Ashford would get married for love?”

“Grady,” Avery chastised shocked by his outburst.

“No, let him go on. It only proves that I’m wasting my time in helping him considering that he’s obviously not in the mood to be helped,” Brant countered with a sneer. “Finding Jade isn’t all that important anymore, now is it?”

“You son of a…” Grady marched towards him ready to launch an attack.

“Just stop!” Avery stepped in between the both of them, “Look I know that none of us have had the best of days, but this isn’t at all how we should be behaving. We’re a team here, not enemies.”

“Tell that to your husband,” Grady snapped back at Brant bitterly, “since he’s the one who is spouting off about things he knows nothing about.”

“What I know is I need to do what’s best for my sister,” Brant argued with him.

“Which in Ashford terms means getting in the way of her happiness by expressing your heavy disapproval of the man she loves,” Grady tossed back at him with a glare, “Yeah that sure sounds like it’s going to help Blake.”

“You weren’t there. You don’t know what went down in Atlantic City,” Brant remarked sharply, “You didn’t see what happened.”

“I didn’t have to. I know how much Seth loves Blake and if you want my opinion, the best thing you can do for Blake is stay the hell out of whatever is going on. They don’t need you getting in their way,” Grady added with a glare before taking a step back.

“Since when did you start playing devil’s advocate for my sister’s love life,” Brant questioned gruffly watching Grady march back into his living room.

“When your sister fell in love with Jade’s brother. Regardless of what you think you know, Seth is a good man and he makes Blake happy. I’ve seen them together and if you care about your sister as much as you claim to, then you won’t be putting in your two cents in like you’re doing right now,” Grady insisted with a warning look.

“Like you’re one to talk. Correct me if I’m wrong here,” Brant began taking a step forward, “but when Russ was alive, weren’t you the one who was constantly harping on him about Avery? About how wrong she was for him?”

“And I was wrong,” Grady threw an apologetic glance over at Avery before focusing on Brant again, “I made a big mistake in trying to rule my brother’s life and all it did was cost me time with him--time that could’ve been spent doing better, more productive things. It’s time I can’t get back Brant and I’m just warning you not to make the same mistake with Blake.”

“Grady’s right,” Avery added touching her husband’s arm gently, “She might be upset right now, but you can’t go in there throwing out your opinions on how you want things done. If you try to dictate her life, all you’re going to do is alienate her from yours.”

“Since when did you two become a team,” Brant gave her a strange stare.

“Since Grady’s right,” Avery squeezed his arm again, “and he’s right on this. Regardless of what happened today Brant, I have no doubt in my mind that Seth loves Blake and she loves him. I know wife or not that hasn’t changed.”

“Even so it kills me to see her hurting like this,” Brant sighed letting his fears surface a bit more about his sister before he collected himself, “I mean I guess what I’m trying to say is…”

“That you love her and you don’t want to see her in over her head,” Grady finished for him with a sympathetic nod, “Hey, it’s what all of us older brothers feel, but we have to learn to let go a bit. If we don’t we’re the ones who are going to wind up feeling like hell in the end.”

“Yeah maybe you’re right,” Brant nodded in agreement giving up on his bitterness in the hopes of pushing the bad day behind him, “So what about you two? Any news on where Jade might be?”

“We found a few leads,” Avery informed him eagerly.

“But nothing substantial,” Grady stepped forward cutting her off before she could give him all the details on their adventure with one another, “We still have a few things to look into, but I think we’re closer now then we were before.”

“I really hope so,” Brant confessed with a sigh, “I hate to think of what’s happening with Jade now that Cameron’s in jail.”

“So do I Brant,” Grady replied exchanging knowing glances with Avery, “but one way or another we’re going to find a way to get Cameron talk.”

“Of course we are,” Avery nodded realizing that while Grady had argued with her earlier about getting closer to Cameron, it was the only way. She had to find a way inside and manipulate him somehow into telling her the truth about what he’d done with Jade. This was something they couldn’t afford to sit on much longer. Even if Brant hated the idea, Avery wasn’t backing out of it. With so much on the line, she couldn’t and knowing how much Grady loved Jade, she vowed she wouldn’t let him lose that. They had to find the truth.


Ria entered her apartment wondering how in the world she’d managed to fly out to Atlantic City, watch Seth’s disaster of a non-wedding, fly back and manage to still get called into work all in one day. It seemed unreal and if she was superhuman, she might not be compelled to complain about it, but now after spending half the evening working in the emergency room, she was ready to just ignore the world for the few precious hours of sleep that fate would provide her with before taking it on all over again. Throwing her keys haphazardly on the table near the doorway Ria entered her apartment with a small smile of exhaustion.

“Home at last,” she mouthed through the darkness making a beeline towards her bedroom.

On the walk she made a mental note to herself to make sure that Valerie had packed all of her things and left the apartment. The last thing Ria wanted was to be stuck in the center of the fiasco Valerie had started, which brought her back to what she’d also have to do in the morning in checking up on Seth. She wanted to check in with him sooner, but when she’d gotten called into work, she hadn’t found the time. She was hoping by now that Seth and Blake had time to talk--to figure things out if only for a little bit.

“I’m sure they have,” she spoke aloud pushing her bedroom door open ready to fall into the welcoming comfort of her bed when she heard a noise coming from the direction she’d just come from. She stood frozen for a moment wondering if Valerie was still lurking in the apartment, but then another noise sounded.

Ria stood stiffly taking another long listen, but there was only the vibrations of her breathing vibrating off of the hallway walls. Shaking her head at the thought of anyone being around her, she pushed her bedroom door open too tired to care about the world any longer. She took one step forward when she felt someone reach out from behind her pulling her back into the hallway.

Ria opened her mouth to scream, but her cries were muffled by the feel of a hand clamped over her lips. She felt another hand squeeze her backward further into the warm body behind her. Her eyes strained to see through the blackness of her apartment and as she felt fingers press over her breast, she did the first thing that came to mind. She grunted before stomping as hard as she could on the intruder’s foot. He let out a pinched wail of agony and it was then that Ria realized that she knew her uninvited guest.

“Damn it,” he groaned again stumbling backward as Ria spun around to face him.

“What the hell are you doing here?” Ria challenged with a sneer feeling her pulse still leaping out of control in her throat, “How did you get in here?”

“I wanted to surprise you. I thought that you would be happy that I was here, not trying to kill me,” her companion remarked with another wince, “If I would’ve known you were on the attack, I would’ve called first.”

“Well you should’ve. You have no right just barging into my apartment like this unannounced. I thought you were a burglar or a rapist or worse one of Valerie’s friends,” she glared up at him.

“You mean your roommate?” he questioned curiously, “I take it you two aren’t getting along?”

“Try we aren’t living together anymore,” she frowned at him.

“When did this happen?” he asked seeing the fear behind her eyes slowly melting away after the initial shock had passed on.

“Earlier today or last night. It doesn‘t matter,” she waved her hand dismissively before swatting at him once again, “You scared the hell out of me.”

“Obviously,” he reached out in an attempt to draw her into his arms, “I’m sorry that I frightened you. I was hoping that you might actually be happy to see me.”

“I would be if you weren’t so damned creepy about it,” she reminded him bluntly, “You can’t just go in and out of people’s homes jumping out of the shadows at them. It’s a good way to get yourself killed.”

“I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to scare you like this,” he leaned in closer to her, his lips teasing over her neck in a tempting movement, “Can you find it in your heart to ever forgive me?”

“No, I can’t,” she lied biting on her lower lip in an attempt to stay angry with him.

“Please,” he kissed her neck again, “I promise I will more than make it up to you for my bad behavior.”

“Somehow I sincerely doubt that,” she groaned closing her eyes regardless, “and even if you could, I really am not up to your trying to do so tonight.”

“Long day?” he questioned feeling the tension riding over her body.

“That doesn’t even begin to cover it,” she admitted with a shake of her head, “Try a long week. Last night I flew out to Atlantic City for my best friend’s wedding and…”

“Seth’s?” he replied unburying his head from her neck.

“That’s right,” she nodded, “and it was like a living nightmare.”

“Why do you say that?” he questioned curiously.

“Well for starters, he flew out there thinking that he and Blake would get married, but…” she groaned again, “It’s not even worth getting into right now.”

“Of course it is,” he encouraged her to keep talking, “Last time we spoke you were telling me how upset Seth was about his sister’s disappearance and now you’re saying he ran off to get married.”

“Well, he did, but it didn’t work out as planned,” she shrugged her shoulders.

“So he’s not married?” he questioned his gaze now fully upon her.

“Not to Blake, no,” she shook her head once again before a sigh erupted from behind her lips, “and that’s all thanks to Valerie.”

“Your roommate?” he replied.

“Former roommate,” she corrected with another shrug, “and you know I should’ve known that she’d pull something like this, but I guess I just never saw it coming. Neither did Seth apparently.”

“I don’t understand,” her companion replied with a confused look, “How did Valerie stop Blake and Seth from getting married?”

“It’s a long and complicated story,” she waved again, “and right now I want to just get into bed.”

“In a minute,” he reached for her arm pulling her back into the hallway with him, “but I want to hear this first.”

“Why? What does it matter?” she frowned at him, “It’s just one big nightmare that will lead to another headache.”

“I don’t think so. I mean Seth is your friend and I know his happiness is important to you, so if you want to talk about it…” he tried to encourage her again.

“I really don’t. At least not tonight. I just want to crawl into the blankets and forget that Seth and Blake are having issues or that Valerie is a pain in the ass,” Ria explained motioning to her bedroom once again, “I’d invite you to join me, but I can promise you that it’s n going to turn out like you were hoping.”

“Well, as long as I’m holding you tonight and we have the apartment all to ourselves maybe we can work on it turning out the way I planned in the morning,” he suggested with a sly grin, “and well, for tonight, we could always talk about what went wrong with Seth and Blake’s wedding before you go to sleep.”

“We could, but I don’t really want to get into it. It’s a long, complicated story that…” she paused thinking about his interest in Seth and Blake, “Why does it matter to you? Why are you suddenly interested in Seth’s relationships?”

“He’s your best friend,” he replied wrapping his arms around her waist and pulling her close to him, “but if you don’t want to get into it tonight, I suppose we don’t have to. I just know how important he is to you and I want you to feel like you can talk to me--like you can open up to me about everything…”

“You know I already feel that way, but tonight, well tonight all I want right now is a few hours of sleep before reality kicks in again,” she pleaded with him.

“Then sleep shall be yours,” he decided kissing the top of her head, “Let’s get you into bed.”

“Thank you,” she smiled at him weakly, “I’m sorry that I couldn’t be more up for whatever it was you had in mind tonight.”

“Hey, anything worth having is worth waiting for,” he joked lightly, “and besides what I have in mind requires your full attention. Tonight I’ll let you get out of it, but in the morning, well that’s another story altogether.”

“Deal,” she half smiled up at him ready to just push the world aside for a little while. Still after he’d brought up Seth, she couldn’t help but wonder if he was really doing okay. She hadn’t wanted to think about him, but now, well now she just prayed that whatever it was that wound up happening to him, that Valerie would just get a clue and leave him alone to enjoy life for a while. Of course knowing how Valerie was, Ria feared that maybe just maybe that was asking too much of the situation.


Blake sat in the soft, blue chair waiting for Seth to return to the apartment after he’d walked Kevin downstairs to say good-bye. Even now surrounded by silence Blake couldn’t seem to find peace or comfort after the nightmare she’d been living through over the last few days. No matter how hard she tried, she couldn’t forget the way that things had fallen to pieces at her wedding. Even being in jail paled in comparison to the pain she’d been surrounding by once Valerie dropped the bombshell in her lap that she was Seth’s wife.

“It’s just not fair,” Blake muttered to herself looking down to see her bride magazines spread out over the coffee table before her. Seeing the happy face of the woman before her only exemplified the fact that her joy was never going for Blake and it sent a jolt of anger rushing over her. She leaned forward and threw the magazine off of the table top in a fury.

“Blake, hey,” Seth’s voice broke her from her bitterness as she saw him standing before her.

“It’s not fair,” she blurted out unable to shield her anger and hurt, “This shouldn’t be happening to us.”

“No it shouldn’t and I’m sorry that I put you through this Blake,” he replied poignantly before bending down to pick up the magazine, “I should’ve told you sooner about Valerie.”

“Yes you should’ve and though I know about her now, I still don’t understand why you didn’t just say something,” she admitted shaking her head at him, “If you would’ve just clued me in to the fact that you were married before…”

“I didn’t say anything because I didn’t think it mattered. I told you back at the hotel that I wasn’t married all that long. At least I didn’t think I was and…” he tried to explain again.

“Yes I know you were upset about what happened to Jade and you rushed off to marry her,” she replied feeling a bitter sting at the thought of what had driven Seth to take such a step with Valerie.

“Blake, it wasn’t like I planned it. Hell, I don’t even know why I did it. It was just stupid and ridiculous and…” he explained himself with a frown.

“Did you love her? I mean did you ever really love her Seth?” she tossed back at him almost fearing the answer.

“No, never. I thought that I did, but I didn’t. Valerie was far too self absorbed to care about anyone other than herself,” he stepped in closer to her. Moving to kneel in front of her, he reached for her hands, “Blake I love you--only you.”

“I know Seth, but…” she paused thinking about the things Valerie had said to her in the jail cell, “When you look at me, what do you see?”

“I see the woman I love,” he replied reaching out to take her hand in his, “I see the one woman in this world that I know I could never be without.”

“Is that really what you see or do you see someone who has only caused you pain and misery?” she questioned unable to suppress the tears that threatened to overtake her. “Do you see someone who has hurt your family in ways that you never thought possible?”

“Blake, you haven’t hurt my family,” Seth replied with a strange look, “Why would you even think that?”

“Because of what’s happened to Jade. I remember what you said to me about my father--about…” she began tearfully.

“Blake, what happened to Jade was a horrible, horrible tragedy and I’m not about to pretend that there isn’t a day that goes by when I’m not haunted by that. To think of how I failed her then or even now…” he shook his head at her before struggling to find the right words, “Blake this isn’t about Jade. This is about you and me--about the two of us together…”

“I know that, but…” she started once again.

“But nothing. You’re the one that I want to marry and share my life with,” he leaned up on his knees to cup her face in his hands, “You’re the only woman I’d ever want to share my life with and that hasn’t changed. It won’t ever change.”

“Seth I…” she began again only to feel his lips over hers. She leaned into the kiss, tears spilling down her cheeks as he pulled her down into the floor with him.

“Blake I love you. I love you so very much and even if it’s complicated, there’s no where else in the world that I’d rather be then holding you just like this,” he explained rolling her onto her back before moving in over her, “Do you remember what it was like the first time I held you?”

She nodded, “I was terrified.”

“So was I,” he admitted thinking back to their first meeting at the auto shop. “Here I was in this confined space with the most beautiful woman I’d ever met and all I kept thinking was that if I died without ever getting the chance to get to know her--if I lost this before it began, well then I knew I would always regret it.”

“You can’t regret something when you’re dead,” she threw back at him pointedly.

“Of course you can Blake,” he leaned in to kiss her gently, “and if it had happened that we would’ve died that day, I would’ve spent the rest of eternity seeking you out in heaven because I knew that you were the one. You’ve always been the one.”

“But what if being the one doesn’t always spell happily ever after?” she asked quietly.

“Happily ever after is an idea that writers came up with to sell stories, but real life isn’t always that easy Blake,” he continued to explain kissing her thoroughly, his arms curling in around her, “Life isn’t perfect and sometimes it’s messy, but when two people love one another--really love one another, then nothing can ever take that away.”

“Not even circumstances like this?” she questioned with sad blue eyes.

“Especially not circumstances like this,” he nodded in confirmation, “Blake, a love like ours might be filled with it’s share of ups and downs, but what we have is forever.”

“I thought you said that happily ever afters didn’t really exist,” she threw his words back at him, “that they were some made up notion.”

“The are in some ways, but in real life, well we have something better then happily ever after,” he mouthed his dark eyes reaching into hers. “We have each other and that’s worth everything in the world.”

“I just don’t want to lose you Seth,” she sighed leaning into his touch.

“You’re never going to lose me. That’s the beauty of it Blake. Given everything we’ve been through with one another, well you should know by now that I’m not going anywhere,” he reminded her with a small smile, “especially when I have you to be with.”

“I love you Seth,” she whispered reaching out to hold him in the hopes that this would never end.

“I love you too and hey, one day we’ll be on that island taking Kevin up on his offer to have a romantic honeymoon out there in paradise,” he assured her with a small, comforting kiss.

“God I hope so,” she mouthed kissing him again as she wondered if things would really find a way to work themselves out for the two of them.


Kevin walked through the lobby of the hotel, his body still overwhelmed with what had happened at the bar earlier. He couldn’t believe that he saw Michelle there.

“Seth was right,” Kevin scowled as he thought to himself, “That piece of trash really isn’t worth it.”

Kevin felt something buzzing around in his pocket as he heard the song he had special for Angie on his phone.

“Hello Angie,” Kevin answered with a small smile as he walked towards his room. He felt like hell right about now, but maybe hearing Angie’s voice would make his feel a little bit better.

“God Kevin,” Angie laughed hearing his voice over the receiver, “It has been so long since I have heard your voice. It’s great to hear you again.”

“I know,” Kevin nodded to himself as he pulled the key to his hotel room out, “I really miss you.”

“Same here,” Angie stated before realizing that she called Kevin for a very good reason, “I really need to talk to you.”

“What’s wrong Angie?” Kevin quickly questioned as he shut the door behind him. “Is something wrong? If there is something going on, I don’t mind coming back there if you need me to.”

“No, I don’t need you to,” she assured him before biting down on her bottom lip, “You see I want to tell you that…I have been thinking about you.”

“Right,” Kevin nodded before thinking to himself, “So, what’s really wrong with you?”

“Nothing,” she chickened out not wanting to tell him what was up, “I just wanted to know if you were having a good time over there.”

“Not really,” Kevin answered, lying back on his bed, “It isn’t the greatest over here because I am missing my best buddy.”

“What happened?” she questioned knowing that Kevin never really hated going places. He was always the one who loved to travel.

“Just ran into some people from the past,” Kevin replied thinking to himself, “No big deal.”

He knew he should of told her about Cameron, but something made him not want to. He didn’t want to hurt her in any way. She was with Nick right now and she was happy…he couldn’t ruin that.

“So tell me,” Kevin grinned, putting his arm behind his head, “Tell me about what has been happening with you and that punk over there.”

“Kevin,” Angie chuckled as they began to talk. “Forget about me. What’s going on with you? You sound upset.”

“I am upset,” he finally admitted having been pushed past his point of no return, “I saw Michelle tonight.”

“Michelle?” she repeated with obvious confusion, “What the hell is she doing out there?”

“I really don’t know, but I have to say that seeing here again--well I just wasn't prepared for how I would feel in being put in that position. I thought that I wouldn’t react if I ever saw her face again, but I was wrong,” Kevin sighed heavily feeling an ache throbbing in his temple.

“Michelle is a witch. She never deserved you,” Angela remarked thinking about all the hell that Michelle had put Kevin through. “I can’t believe that she just popped up out of the blue again.”

“Yeah, well that’s just my luck,” Kevin grumbled in response, “That seems to be the name of the game for me lately.”

“I’m sorry to hear that Kevin,” she sighed wanting to bring up what happened between her and Nick, but she couldn’t bring herself to do it. She didn’t want Kevin to be too worried about her especially now that he was reeling from the first encounter with his ex-wife after a long time of pretending that she just dropped off of the face of the planet. She could tell that Kevin was still upset and she knew that now wouldn‘t be the time to tell him the truth. It would be okay if she told him when he came back. To tell him about her engagement tonight would be just plain cruel. “Don’t let Michelle get you worked up Kevin.”

“Easier said than done Angie. You know how she always grated on my nerves and got underneath my skin,” he admitted tossing his hotel room key on the table top before lying on the bed.

“Yeah, well lucky for you, you’ve got me to help you unwind, so let’s talk about it and I’ll remind you all the reasons why Michelle so isn’t worth your time,” she suggested brightly, “and believe me I still have my list that you had me tuck away for a rainy day.”

“Is that right,” he couldn’t help but smirk, “I thought that you’d thrown that out.”

“Oh please, like I would do such a thing when I had a feeling that we might need it for an emergency occasion. If anything qualifies as an emergency, then tonight is it,” she added hoping to help pull him out of his slump.

“Yeah, well what about Nick?” he questioned after a moment of hesitation.

“Nick can wait for a little while. You’re my best friend Kevin. You can’t,” she informed him point blank before taking in a slow breath, “So where do we start? How about Michelle’s horrible morning breath?”

“Don’t even get me started on that,” Kevin couldn’t help but laugh feeling himself put at ease now that Angela had started her attempts to cheer him up. While he wasn’t looking to bother anyone with his issues with Michelle tonight after he’d left Seth’s place, he found himself very grateful that Angie was there for him. She always knew the right things to say at a time when things weren’t as smooth and easy-going as they should be.


“That was incredible,” Carly remarked after Dave had taken another look at a now sleeping Kayla. “What you did in there with her…”

“Was nothing,” he shrugged his shoulders before offering up a small smile, “I used to do it every day with Cori when she was younger and couldn’t sleep. In fact it got to the point that I think that she could easily recite the book without me, but it just wasn’t the same.”

“I can’t imagine it would be,” Carly smiled up at him, “Given how mesmerized Kayla was by you, I can only guess how much Cori enjoyed spending that time with you.”

“It was easy with Cori because she was a great kid. Kayla is too,” Dave replied thoughtfully, “I just can’t help myself when I’m with her. The more time I spend with her, the more that I want to be with her.”

“She just has that effect on a person,” Carly sighed thinking about how much she’d missed out on with her daughter over the last couple of months, “I don’t know how I could’ve left her in the first place. I don’t know what I was thinking trying to do this back and forth shuffle when I really should’ve just stayed here with her.”

“You were trying to do what was best for her,” Dave offered up sympathetically, “You were trying to get the pieces of your life together again before the big explosion happened.”

“And what exactly did I accomplish in doing things that way?” she replied tilting her eyes up towards his once again, “I only seemed to make an even bigger mess of things.”

“I don’t know if I’d put it quite that way,” Dave shrugged, “I mean look at how well things are turning out right now. I’m here with Kayla and so are you. She seems very happy about everything.”

“I know,” Carly nodded, “which is why I don’t want to take that joy away from her. She’s been so excited over the last few days that I don’t want it to end for her. She deserves so much more than…”

“Than what? A mother who loves her and wants to put her needs first,” he questioned taking a bold step forward. Tentatively his fingertips traveled to the side of her face, “I can see how much you love her Carly.”

“I do. She’s the only thing I really have left to show for what I’ve done in this world,” she offered up with a sad smile thinking about all the mistakes she made back in Coral Valley.

“She’s not the only thing,” Dave replied in a tender whisper, “I hope you realize that.”

“What I realize is that I’ve been given a lot of second chances that I don’t really deserve lately,” she sighed heavily dropping her head down to look at the floor. She felt him nudge her slightly urging her to look up at him once again.

“You do deserve it, but right now I know that’s not what you’re feeling,” he whispered leaning in closer to her, “which is why if you can’t feel that you’re worthy, then I’d like you to think that I deserve a second chance.”

“You deserve more than a second chance Dave. You deserve someone who is going to love you with all that she is and give you all that you need. What you truly deserve is…” she began feeling him pull her more completely into his arms.

“A chance for a future again with you,” he replied his lips closing in over hers in a surprisingly heated kiss. She felt his palms fan out over her spine crushing her in closer to him and in that moment she felt her heart sputter in her chest. She curled her fingers around his shoulders biting gently into his skin as their mouths collided with exploratory wonder. Tenderly his tongue caressed hers offering up the first tastes of the fire that had once burned alive between them. She moaned slightly feeling the very contact of his hands upon her, over her awakening a passion that she’d fought to keep under wraps after she’d made so many mistakes where their relationship was concerned.

“Carly, let me be point blank about this,” he whispered nibbling on her neck, feeling her shiver at the warmth of his breath teasing over her soft skin, “I know that I’ve been skirting around the issue for a while now, but the truth to the matter is that I’m tired of being a gentleman. I’m tired of waiting around for things to happen for me when all I really want to do is make my own fate.”

“I can’t say I blame you one bit for feeling that way,” she started to reply feeling him slide his hand up underneath her shirt to touch her. His fingers teased her excited skin, palm pressing in over the softness of her femininity and as his mouth beckoned hers once again with an earth-shattering kiss she knew exactly where Dave was planning on taking his destiny to with her.

“I want you,” he murmured against her mouth, nibbling on her lower lip greedily, “I want to make love to you again--to feel you with me in every sense of the word…”

“But…” she started knowing that there clearly should’ve been a reason why she should be protesting, why his suggestion should seem irrational and completely out of place as they stood only a few feet from her daughter’s bedroom.

“Carly, I don’t want to hesitate anymore. I’m tired of always playing it safe,” he slid his fingers through her hair, urging her to meet his passion laced eyes, “I want you. I’ve always wanted you and tonight I want to show you just how much I need you in my life.”

“But Kayla…” she started with a tight, surprised tone, “and my mother…”

“They don’t need to know what we’re doing,” he laughed lightly charmed by the color that rose over her features, “as far as I’m concerned we can keep this between us. What do you say?”

“I think that…” she began to offer up a response only to feel him dive in for another drugging kiss. His arms enfolded her, his body pressing into hers offering up a sensual reminder of the passion that once burned between them.

“Let’s go outside,” Dave suggested a warmth behind his words that easily hinted at far more sensual things to come between them.

“Dave are you sure that…” she half questioned feeling him take her hand in his as he guided her out towards the back patio.

“Of course I’m sure,” he laughed lightly as if some inside joke had fallen upon him. Once they were out beneath the moonlight he turned to face her with a sexy smile, “Tell me something Carly. Why is it that on television and pretty much everywhere in the media these days when two people are about to share an intimate experience we always have one of the two people asking the other if they are sure?”

“Well I um…” she began feeling his fingers sliding through her dark hair creating a mind-blowing sensation riding through her body that left her thinking less and less about what he’d just asked her.

“I mean the way I look at it,” he began cupping her face in his hands, “if two people are sure, don’t you think they’d just know when they reach that point with one another?”

“You’d think,” she breathed restlessly seeking out another kiss.

“Well it would just make sense to think that if two people wanted to be with one another that they’d just say, ‘Hey this is what I want. Obviously you want it too and since we’re both here doing what we want to do, then what’s the point of asking questions about it?’ I mean that seems to be making the most sense in something like that, right?” he questioned pressing her up against the outside of the house. His lips beckoned hers once again feeling the warmth of her beneath him, her body eagerly pressing up into his.

“You’d think,” she repeated again, her hands sliding up and down over his spine before squeezing around his waist. Their lips met in another hungry union before her touch traveled over to the center of his chest, “I mean they should be asking things more like, ‘My place or yours’.”

“Or better yet,” he kissed her again, his fingers dropping in underneath the lace of her bra to tease her mercilessly, “right here or out on the beach?”

“On the beach,” she replied in a low, throaty whisper, “but there’s all that sand and…”

“Good point,” he hoisted her up into his arms more completely, “out in the water out by the rocks is an even better idea.”

“Dave,” she squealed his name feeling him rush off of her mother’s porch out onto the beach with her in his arms.

“Think of it this way, we’re embracing a new sense of adventure,” Dave teased tearing through the sand in the hopes of keeping up the spontaneity that he’d felt carry over him.

“I do like adventures even if the person I’m experiencing them with has gone completely insane,” she replied feeling him set her down in the sand. Her toes dropped down into the grainy texture before her, but she didn’t have much time to register the feel much longer than a millisecond because Dave had already ripped her shirt from her shoulders.

“I thought you liked a little craziness every now and then,” he mouthed biting down on her shoulder gently. Eagerly he tore her shirt from her body throwing it down into the sand.

“Of course I do, but…” she started reciprocating the movement and tugging his shirt up over his head. She watched him step back once she’d discarded his shirt. The moonlight overhead seemed to glisten over his chest and in that moment she felt herself breathless with anticipation.

“But what?” he questioned unhooking his belt, “Afraid of taking this kind of risk with me?”

“No, it’s not that,” she shook her head at him reveling in the moment of watching him strip down before her. She licked her lips full of anticipation as he kicked his clothes aside, now standing before her in his full naked splendor, now hers for the taking, “It’s just I guess I never expected this.”

“Well that’s the beauty of it,” he marched forward, not bothering for her to finish getting undressed before he scooped her up into his arms, “tonight with me expect the unexpected.”

“Dave,” she squealed with laugher feeling him carry her into the water with him ready to explore a whole new, rejuvenated side of their relationship with one another. While this was the last thing she’d expected, something told her that tonight with Dave would be the start of something she’d never forget.

“Oh come on, you know you’re up for a little fun,” Dave teased dumping her underneath the water with a lightening quick movement.

“Son of a…” Carly squealed rising up above the dark surface ready to kill him when she found herself surrounded by darkness. She was soaked from head to toe, drenched in the water, but Dave was no where to be seen. She scanned the area, searching through the moonlight for the man who was now constantly full of surprises. This newfound playfulness wasn’t the norm for Dave, yet as she felt her clothes sticking to her body, soaked by her surroundings she found herself more curious than ever to explore this new side with him.

“Dave,” Carly called out to him, hearing her voice echo through the night. She swam out a bit further wondering if he was under the water waiting for her to make some kind of move. She swam a bit more, feeling her jeans adding weight to her legs now that they clung to her. She leaned forward ready to find a way out of them when she felt a distinct tug at her abdomen.

Within the blink of an eye she felt herself pulled under the water, but the surprise was replaced with the warmth of Dave’s lips against hers. She curled her arms around him, feeling the need to be close to him as his hands moved in over the top of her jeans. They began to surface and with the movement Carly’s legs were freed from the thick, heavy material she’d been trapped in earlier.

“Better now?” Dave questioned in a low, sultry voice causing a ripple of excitement to race through her.

“Much,” she nodded inching in closer to him all the while catching her jeans floating away from them towards the shore, “though I hope those find their way to the beach because if they don’t you’re going to owe me another pair.”

“If they don’t, I’ll take you shopping for whatever you want, but right now,” his palms pressed in over her bottom cupping her in against his thick arousal, “I know what I want.”

“So what are you waiting for,” she questioned wrapping her legs around his waist and kissing him as if she’d never stop.

Their bodies seemed to move with the tide gravitating over towards the docks where Dave collected her in his arms. He pulled her upward out of the water just a bit seating her on something damp over the surface of the dock. She looked down to where he’d placed her, seeing a wet blanket laid out over the shiny, wet surface of the dock.

“It might not be the soft cushy bed you had in mind before,” he pulled himself up out of the water just a bit to claim her lips again, “but I hope it’ll do for now.”

“I’m sure it’ll more than do,” she nodded seeing a small black bag over towards the far side of the smooth dock beneath her, “What’s this?”

“What can I say,” he replied pulling himself out of the water and sliding in beside her, “I came prepared.”

She plucked up the bag unzipping the waterproof material to see the condoms inside. She tilted her head to the side giving him a strange glance, “Just how long in advance were you planning this?”

“Not that long,” he confessed drawing her into his arms again, “well, long enough to get a bit of an idea of what we’d be in for with one another.”

“But when did you…” she blinked back at him.

“When your mother thought it would be a nice time to talk to you--you know give you the warnings about my getting too close to Kayla. She and I were out here earlier and I just figured that this spot might be a good spot to…”

“To do something very indecent in a public place,” she shook her head at him all the while making a small tsking sound, “Why Chief Warner, what would the boys back at the police station be saying right about now if they knew about the laws you were about to be breaking?”

“I think they’d never believe it if you told them,” he mouthed urging her in against the smooth surface beneath them. He moved in over her, his lips teasing hers to sweet surrender as the soft night air swept over their damp bodies. She curled her arms around him loving the feel of his warmth over her.

“You want to make a bet,” she half questioned drawing lazy circles over his spine as his tongue teased over her collar bone driving her mad with aching desire.

“You can’t even believe it yourself, can you,” he replied with a pointed expression reaching out for a condom before kissing her heatedly to let her know with full certainty that tonight he was ready to embark upon a whole new kind of adventure with her.

“I think I’m pleasantly surprised,” she confessed with a soft whimper wrapping her legs around him in eager anticipation.

“You’re going to be more than that by tomorrow morning because this is just the beginning,” he promised joining their bodies as one in a firm, strong movement. Her lips parted in an exaggerated breath, her head tipping to the side as he nibbled on her shoulder, tasting the heat radiating from within her. It had been far too long for the two of them and now that they were together again--lost in the insatiable hunger they’d suppressed for one another, it felt too good--too familiar and in that moment Dave knew he wasn’t about to let go of this life. Never would he play second fiddle to Ken or anyone else. Carly was his. She and Kayla were the life he always wanted--the dream come true that had always been just out of his reach.

“Dave,” she spoke his name her lips beckoning his once again, her breaths intensifying as her legs locked around him drawing him further into her. Their union was wild, reckless and completely out of character for the state of their relationship. It was something that held an unmistakable distinction, something that would make a memory that neither was sure to forget--of course this little beach side romp wasn’t about to be an intimate act of seclusion any longer between them when a loud, piercing sound flooded in overhead followed by a blinding light above.

“What in the…” Carly gasped straining to see through the bright, white light overhead. “Dave…”

The winds whipped around them, moving with a new pounding frequency as their moment was surrounded by chaos. There was another sound, a loud piercing fog horn type sound that cut through the air and in that moment Dave looked up to see the boat just a dozen or so feet in front of them.

“Don’t move!” a strong, authoritative voice commanded.

“I don’t think that’s going to be too much of a problem,” Carly groaned burying her face in Dave’s shoulder as she heard the sounds of people coming out of their houses. She wasn’t quite sure what was happening, but there was no mistaking the fact that she and Dave were no longer alone.

“Put your hands up,” the voice commanded once again as Dave threw out an apologetic look at Carly.

“So much for being reckless, eh?” Carly threw back at him, her face now a bright, crimson color. While it was dark outside before, the light overhead did nothing to keep her embarrassment from showing as Dave moved off of her.

“I can handle this,” he tried to assure her, using the blanket the best that he could to cover her up before he turned towards the source of the light.

“Yeah right,” she groaned closing her eyes and wanting to just die on the spot.

“This is just a misunderstanding. I’m sure if you will just give me five minutes…” Dave spoke up to the man behind the voice.

“Put your hands up,” the man ordered as the coast guard uniforms came into view.

“Believe me, you really don’t want me to do that,” Dave motioned to his nakedness. He felt Carly shuffle in behind him in an attempt to keep the eyes of those on the beach off of them, but as Dave could clearly see Helen Matthews standing on her back porch catching every single second of this humiliation that was taking place, he knew that this moment of mortification was far from over for him and Carly. Even if he could sweet talk the man before him, he knew full well that Helen was going to give him and Carly the lecture of a lifetime. That in itself was something far worse to fear than the security patrol ready to take him and Carly again. Then again, the more he thought about it, the more he wondered if maybe jail was a much better option than facing the wrath of Helen Matthews. That in itself could turn out to be quite deadly.


“That is a really good movie Cori,” Diego smiled as the movie ended, but he didn’t hear her answer back, “Cori?”

As Diego looked down, he saw that her eyes were closed and she was asleep.

“So much for a great movie,” Diego laughed getting up from the couch and going to turn the television off, “It was so good that it put you right to sleep.”

He smiled as he looked back at her, she looked so beautiful right now. He really was glad that she came back, he needed some time to break away from the world and with her he could do that. She was fun and happiness all in one. Every minute he had spent with her had been well worth it.

“I’ll put this away,” he sighed, grabbing the movie and putting it back in the pile.

He walked over to the couch and took a seat not trying to wake her up, but failed when her eyes opened.

“Is the movie over already?” she questioned seeing him nod. “Darn, the ending is the best part.”

“Don’t worry,” he laughed seeing her look up at him with her dark eyes, “We’ll watch it again I promise.”

“Good,” she yawned once more as he wrapped his arm around her shoulder tightly, “I guess I was really tired.”

“You still are,” Diego pointed out as she rested her head on his shoulder, “I think the best thing to do right now would be to just go to sleep.”

“Good idea,” Cori replied before closing her eyes as he ran his fingers through her hair gently.

“Goodnight,” he whispered kissing her forehead gently hearing the heavy breaths telling him that she was asleep.

He pulled her closer to him before deciding to close his own eyes. It had been a long time since he had been close to someone and now it felt really good to be with someone.


“So I think tonight turned out to be a success,” Hart blurted out finishing up with getting out of his costume as Jenna took her makeup off in the bathroom.

“Yeah you didn’t kill anyone for gawking at Sam. I’d say that was a huge success,” she teased from behind the hand towel she was drying her face with.

“Well yes that was part of it,” Hart popped his head in to look at her, “but another part of it was the fact that you and Kipp were able to finally have a talk with one another. It seemed to have gone pretty well.”

“It did,” she smiled thinking back to the brief conversation with her brother, “I think he’s really trying to change his life and I respect that.”

“Yeah he seems pretty decent. Nothing like the rumors that were swirling around about him when he first popped into town working for Stone Corp,” Hart shrugged before stepping in behind her to wrap her up in his arms.

“I guess life changes a person,” she snuggled back into his chest, “we’re living proof of that.”

“Yes we are,” he agreed kissing her neck gently, “and I feel blessed each and every day for that.”

“So do I,” she hugged his arms around her tighter than before, “You know for a long time I really believed that nothing good came out of Douglas Mahoney--like I was somehow doomed by being his daughter given all the things he’s done in the past, but now, well now after I’ve taken the time to really start talking to Kipp, I feel like there is hope.”

“That’s because there is hope,” he replied turning her in his arms, “There’s always hope Jenna. You can’t ever forget that.”

“When I’m with you I could never forget,” she replied leaning up to kiss him tenderly, “Tonight was really wonderful Hart.”

“You’re what’s wonderful Jen. You have no idea how blessed I feel to have you in my life,” he added kissing her tenderly as they settled into a perfect end to an almost perfect evening.


“Thanks for taking me Kipp,” Kellen gushed over what they had just done as they got out of the car, “I had so much fun tonight. I don’t know what I would do if you weren’t my friend.”

“Well, you don’t have to worry about that,” Kipp smiled seeing Kellen begin to walk backwards as he looked back at Kipp, “I plan on being your friend for a long time.”

“Good,” Kellen laughed before turning back around and taking his keys out, “because I think you are one of the best friends I have ever had.”

“You probably are the best friend I have ever had,” Kipp pointed out as Kellen led him into his house and smiled, “I mean it Kellen. I’ve never met someone quite like you.”

“I know sweetheart,” Kellen laughed, touching Kipp’s shoulder lightly, “I am on in a million.”

“I’m not playing with you Kellen,” Kipp raised his eyebrows looking up at Kellen’s gaze, his light blue eyes showing clearly, “You really mean a lot to me.”

“You mean a lot to me too,” Kellen replied looking down to the ground, “No one really accepted me as me. I always had to change when I was around someone, but around you, I feel like I can be myself.”

“That’s how you should be buddy,” Kipp smiled reaching over, squeezing Kellen’s shoulder lightly, “You need to be you because you are the best person I have ever met.”

“Same goes for you,” Kellen smiled before looking down at his watch, “You know, it’s getting late, but I had a really great time.”

“Me too,” Kipp agreed with a small laugh seeing Kellen smile, “Well, I guess I will see you tomorrow.”

“Sure,” Kellen nodded as they stood there in silence for a few moments until Kipp leaned forward, wrapping his arms around Kellen.

“Thanks for everything,” Kipp grinned after letting Kellen out of his tight hug.

“No problem,” Kellen waved seeing Kipp walk towards the door, “Bye.”

Kellen didn’t know why, but something made him think that Kipp really did have some type of feelings for him. Or maybe it was just his mind playing with him with another round of wishful thinking?


...to be continued...