Episode 227

“So what else did you have planned for us today?” Mindy questioned, taking a seat on the couch, seeing Brittany following her action. “Got anymore games to play?”

“No,” Brittany shook her head slowly with a small sigh, “I don’t know what we should do now.”

“Maybe we could watch another movie?” Mindy suggested, seeing Brittany shake her head slowly.

“I think we have seen every one that I have,” Brittany replied, hearing a knock the door, “Who could that be?”

“Don’t know,” Mindy shrugged, standing up slowly to walk towards the door, “Let’s check and find out.”

“Hey there,” Hunt smiled as Mindy opened the door with a small sigh, “Don’t seem so enthusiastic.”

“It’s not you,” Mindy promised with a small laugh, shrugging her shoulders, “We just can’t find anything fun to do.”

“Well, in that case,” Hunt wiggled his eyebrows up and down before entering the room, “I guess it was a good thing that I showed up here.”

“Why?” Brittany quickly questioned, standing to her feet. “Do you have a surprise? I love surprises.”

“Well, it’s not really a surprise,” Hunt answered, sighing deeply, “I was just wondering if you two wanted to go see a movie with me. You see, there is this premiere and…”

“I’ll go,” Brittany answered with a wide smile, “It could be any movie and I will love it. I just want to go out with you two.”

“I guess it’s settled then,” Hunt grinned, turning to face Mindy, “What do you say? Is this whole thing okay with you?”

“Please say yes Mindy,” Brittany begged holding her hands together, “Please, oh please?”

“Oh okay,” Mindy agreed, feeling Brittany’s arms wrap around her waist for a hug, “Hey, it was no problem. We are supposed to be having fun, so why not?”

“That’s the kind of attitude I like,” Hunt snapped his fingers with a wide smile over his features, “You two get your things together and we will get going.”

“Okay,” Brittany nodded, grabbing her coat quickly and running back towards Hunt, “I’m all ready if you are.”

“You all good?” Hunt asked Mindy seeing her nod slowly. “I guess it’s time that we get going then.”

“This is going to be so much fun,” Brittany declared holding her hand out to Hunt’s, grabbing it tightly, “Just one question…what’s a premiere?”

“It’s an opening of a movie,” he answered with a small laugh, “You two will love it. I heard that it is supposed to be a great show tonight. If you two don’t want to go to a movie, we can go somewhere else if you would like.”

“Movie sounds great,” Mindy assured him with a small laugh, locking the house up, “Is that okay with you Brittany or would you like to go somewhere else?”

“I want to go to the movie,” she quickly repeated with a wide smile, “It sounds really fun.”

“Then let’s get going,” Hunt suggested, pointing towards the door, “If we get there fast, we can get good seats.”


“How’s the popcorn going?” Jenna questioned craning her head back to take a look at Hart as he stood in the kitchen putting together a bowl of popcorn for their night of rest and relaxation watching a DVD.

“I’m almost through with it,” he called back to her blowing a kiss in her general direction. “It’ll be just a minute.”

“Good because I have to admit it’s getting kind of lonely without you in here,” she replied reaching for the television remote and shuffling through the channels in his absence.

“It’s nice to be missed,” Hart smiled returning into the room with an oversized bowl of popcorn in his arms, “It makes me realize how much you love me.”

“It was more so the popcorn I was hoping for,” Jenna teased reaching out to steal the bowl from his arms. She set it into the center of her lap before munching on it eagerly.

“I see how it is. You’re using me for my…” he paused with heavy emphasis, “popcorn.”

“Among other things,” she confessed reaching out to kiss him quickly before settling back onto her side of the sofa, “So what’s on the agenda tonight? Another Star Wars night or maybe something of a romantic comedy?”

“I was thinking more so along the lines of a drama,” Hart replied turning to face her on the sofa, “It’s a love story you see. It’s about a man and a woman who are living together and happier than they’ve ever been in their lives up until this point in time.”

“It sounds like a wonderful tale to tell,” Jenna nodded encouragingly, “So what else happens?”

“Well the man in the story gets the idea that since he and his live in lady love are so very happy with one another that he’s going to make another big step in their relationship. He’s decided he wants to sell his condo and settle into something more permanent with the woman of his dreams,” Hart blurted out catching Jenna by surprise.

“Hart, are you saying that you want to…?” she questioned in astonishment watching him nod.

“Yeah, I think it’s about time to let go of the old bachelor pad there. It served it’s purpose, but the days of it’s usefulness are long gone. The way I see it things are working out great for us here and unless you’re ready to kick me out, I got to thinking that maybe it’s time I stayed here…officially,” he continued with a small smile, “Then maybe when you’re ready we can find something a little bigger like a house or something and go domestic together somewhere down the road. What do you say?”

“I say, ‘It sounds nice, but are you sure’?” she asked again searching his eyes, “I know how much you loved your place and I wouldn’t want you to feel like you’re giving all of that up for me.”

“I don’t see it as any kind of loss. It belonged to me when I was another man and that’s not who I am anymore,” he continued to explain to her, “I’ve moved on past that phase in my life and I’d like to think that this is a way to get a fresh start.”

“Are you sure about that? I mean are you really, really sure?” Jenna eyed him intently.

“As sure as I am about how great it feels to be here with you,” he nodded back at her, “I think it’s time for me to move on--for us to move on with one another. This will be a nice start.”

“Well, then if it’s what you really want to do, then I support you completely. I think it’s a wonderful idea,” she decided, “though moving you out is going to be an interesting process there…”

“I don’t really have all that much at the place that I care about--well there are a few things, but most of it can go with the place for all I care,” he paused thinking about that comment, “Although there are a few things that I’d like to have there before I sell it.”

“Like what?” Jenna questioned curiously.

“You,” he reached over to kiss her quickly, “I think that it would be nice to take you over there at least once before I sell it considering that the only time I had you there, you were very, very drunk.”

“I wasn’t very, very drunk. It was just a little drunk and…” she stopped catching his look of disbelief, “Okay so maybe I was more than a little drunk, but still…”

“You were so upset,” he remembered clearly his finger sweeping in over her bottom lip gently, “You were in such a state of turmoil and up until that point in time I was convinced that you’d hated me.”

“Yet when my world was falling apart, I wound up on your doorstep,” Jenna noted before offering up a small laugh, “Yep, I must’ve been really drunk.”

“I thought you were really beautiful,” he confessed sliding in closer to her, “The way you were hurting killed me inside, but when you kissed me--when you asked me to make love to you, you have no idea how hard it was to refuse you. I didn’t want to hurt you that night, but you were so captivating and…”

“And I distinctly remember that I passed out long before you could even think about compromising your good moral standing,” she half rolled her eyes before letting out a small laugh, “Although I have to wonder what it might’ve been like for us to have gotten together back then…”

“It would’ve been hot,” he replied nibbling on her neck, “Very, very hot.”

“Not nearly as hot as it is now that we’re together,” she remarked turning towards him and seeking out his lips, “Back then it would’ve been about only lust, but now, well now I love you so very much.”

“Not nearly as much as I love you, which is why I thought maybe if you were interested we could go over to my place tonight and try something that I’ve never done there in all the years that I’ve owned it,” Hart whispered suggestively.

“Oh yeah and what might that be?” she arched a curious brow.

“Why I’d like to make love to the woman that I love more than life itself. It’s the only thing that place was ever truly missing in the entire time I lived there,” Hart replied reaching out for the popcorn bowl and setting it on the coffee table. Seconds later her pulled Jenna into his arms. “What do you say?”

“Well, it wasn’t exactly what we had planned with movie night and all, but it does have a certain appeal to it. We can think back to our beginnings and maybe replay the night as it should’ve been before I passed out,” Jenna decided with a playful expression.

“There’s the spirit,” Hart kissed her encouragingly knowing that tonight was going to be a night that neither one of them would ever forget.


Augustus poured himself a drink after having brought home a bottle with him. He knew that they’d tried to clean out all the alcohol in the house after Ken’s downward spiral, but after Augustus had learned of his grandson’s fate, he realized that he himself needed a drink. It was bad enough that Ken had been lashing out, but to learn that a former lover of Ken’s had inflicted this kind of misery upon the family, well it just brought Augustus to an uproar. Susan Hastings was history. When Augustus found her, she would have to deal with him and that was a fate that most who knew what was good for them never wanted to face. Yes, he was going to make her pay indeed.

“And when I’m finished with her, she’ll wish that she never returned to Coral Valley to begin with,” Augustus mused to himself sipping his drink slowly.

“I sincerely hope that you’re not talking about me because I’m not about to let you get out of our arrangement,” Heather’s voice spilled through the emptiness of the mansion. Augustus spun around to see her standing before him dressed to impressed in a slinky black dress that was very revealing--so much so that it added extra emphasis to the sheer perfection of her body. She smiled at him brightly before doing a small twirl. “I let myself in since I figured you might be here and I still have a key.”

“Which I expect you to be returning soon,” Augustus spoke up in a warning tone.

“Eventually, but first,” she held her arms out in the air before doing another twirl for him, “How do I look? You like?”

“It’s very appropriate,” he nodded back at her before sipping his drink again.

“It should be more than appropriate since you paid big money to get this face of mine back in order,” she blurted out enthusiastically. She stepped in front of a mirror to admire herself for a long moment, “It wasn’t your typical nip and tuck, but I think I look better than ever.”

“Of course you do. That was part of our deal,” Augustus noted before lowering his glass, “Though I half expected you to come back with implants given what I was told you were harassing the surgeons about.”

“Why would I want to do that when I rather enjoy the breasts I have,” Heather motioned to her chest before smiling again, “Pregnancy does so many wonderful things to a woman--things that stay with them long after their child is born. Wouldn’t you agree?”

“I suppose,” he shrugged before moving across the room, “So what can I do for you?”

“You know what you can do for me,” she informed him point blank, “You’ve given me a wonderful new start, but I’ve come to collect on the rest of our arrangements. As you can see I’ve left Brant alone, but now where my son is concerned…”

“I had my lawyers draw up papers and send them over to Kipp considering that a deal is a deal,” he informed her before holding out his hand, “Now about that key…”

“I think I’ll just hold onto this until I’m sure that everything is in working order. I don’t want to wind up on the losing end of this arrangement especially since I’ve been very good at staying away from Brant. You’d be proud,” she laughed lightly.

“You’ve been recovering from your surgeries. Why would I be proud of you for having been hundreds of miles away? It hasn’t taken any willpower on your end to do such a task,” he wrinkled his nose at her, “Besides, I have quite a few things to worry about around here and I wouldn’t want you mucking them up. There’s already enough chaos.”

“A deal is a deal Augustus,” she reminded him once again, “and when I get my son, then you’ll get this key. I promise I will be a good girl and keep away from Brant as long as you remember our arrangement. If you even think about screwing me out of getting custody of my son, then so help me God you’ll wish that you never messed with me in the first place.”

“I already wish that we hadn’t crossed paths,” he groaned inwardly, “now if you’ll excuse me I have to get back to the hospital to see my grandson.”

“Brant’s in the hospital?” she questioned with wide, worried eyes.

“No Ken is, but I trust Brant is with him which means you’ll be staying far away from the hospital,” he rose up from the couch, “Besides, why don’t you go see your son? That’s really what’s important to you right now. You may as well start acting like a mother for a change if that’s really what you want with your child.”

“Fine, but just remember, I expect you to keep up with your end of the deal,” Heather threw out one last warning look before she decided it was time to let everyone hear all about her return to Coral Valley. When she’d left she was a mere shadow of her former self, but now she was back and better than ever!


“Thanks for taking Charles with me to the his first check up,” Kipp smiled as Kellen held the door open for him while he carried Charles, “It was really nice of you to take us here.”

“Believe me,” Kellen hushed with a small smile as they began to walk down the hallway, “I wanted to help you out more than anything. I wanted to come for the little guy. You should know by now that--we are buddies and you can’t split us up.”

“I know that,” Kipp laughed, shrugging his shoulders as Kellen strongly looked him in the eyes, “You two are really close and I really love that.”

“You better,” Kellen stated with a smile, looking at the sleeping baby in Kipp’s arms, “Because nothing is going to stop me from seeing this little guy all the time.”

“Oh my, what in the world?” Kipp gasped, stopping dead in his tracks and seeing Kellen frown unhappily.

“I didn’t think I was really that bad Kipp,” Kellen frowned, placing his hands on his hips sadly shaking his head, “Kipp, do you really think I am that bad?”

“I wasn’t talking about you silly,” Kipp informed Kellen, seeing Kellen straighten up his posture and nod slowly, “I think I saw Sarah sitting over there.”

“Where? Where did you see her? Hey, it is,” Kellen nodded, seeing Sarah sitting down in one of the seats in the lobby. She didn’t look like she was feeling that well, which made Kellen worry, “Maybe we should go and see if everything is okay.”

“Good idea,” Kipp agreed, beginning to follow Kellen towards where Sarah was sitting.

“Hey there sunshine,” Kellen wrapped his arm around Sarah’s shoulder as he sat down next to her, “Why are frowning like that Sarah? You know that the sun comes out when we see those beautiful whites of yours.”

“Hey Kellen,” Sarah smiled as he frowned, raising an eyebrow at the way she was acting around him and he knew something was up, “What are you doing her today?”

“We are here to bring Charles in for a checkup today,” Kipp answered, taking a step forward to see Sarah smile at the sight of Charles sleeping in his arms, “Why are you looking so down today? What’s wrong auntie?”

“Long story,” Sarah breathed out heavily as Kipp took a seat next to her and Kellen wrapped his arm around her tighter. “It’s nothing you would want to hear.”

“Come on sunshine--you know that‘s not true. We will always want to be there for you, so what’s wrong?” Kellen questioned with a small frown, knowing that something was up. Kellen always had a way with reading people’s faces.

“You mean you haven’t heard anything about it yet?” Sarah wondered, looking between Kipp and Kellen who seemed to be looking at her blankly--not knowing what she was talking about. “Kyle is in the hospital.”

“Wait, why?” Kipp questioned with a frown, arching his eyebrow. “What happened to him?”

“Well, from what we understand that happened,” Sarah began to explain, knowing that she had both of their attentions, “Susan drugged Kyle with a drug that wasn’t even legal and it screwed him up pretty badly. While Kyle’s mind was going haywire, Susan forced herself on him.”

“Excuse me?” Kellen blinked widely, shaking his head slowly. “No, not Kyle. You’re boyfriend Kyle? The muscular hunk?”

“Yeah, that’s how screwed up this drug was,” Sarah told them, taking in a deep breath as she thought back to when Kyle passed out, “The drug turned him into someone that he wasn’t. Or at least someone I haven‘t seen in a long time. He ended up passing out and for a while we thought he would be dead.”

“Sarah, that sounds so horrible,” Kipp gulped down, not believe what he was hearing, “So you have been here this whole time with him? How are you feeling?”

“Better than Kyle,” she replied, knowing the way that Kyle had tried to be acting strong for her was just an act. Sure, he was a really great actor, but she could see right through him. Kyle was in a lot of pain, he just didn’t want to let her know.

“You know what?” Kipp questioned, biting down on his bottom lip before standing up and looking down at Charles. “I know what will make you better.”

“What’s that?” Sarah asked, not sure that anything would make her feel better right now.

“Your nephew, I think he would like you to hold him” Kipp answered, gently placing Charles in Sarah’s arms, seeing the smile appear past her sad expression. At least he was getting somewhere with making her feel a ting bit better. “What do you think? Who does Charles look like?”

“You,” Sarah informed him, looking down at the sleeping baby in her arms, “He acts like you too. Peaceful and adorable--something my sister is definitely not.”

“I guess that’s a good way to put it there,” Kipp nodded, agreeing with her before looking around the hospital lobby, “Where is Kyle’s hospital room anyways?”

“It’s that one right there,” Sarah pointed with one of her hands towards Kyle’s room before seeing the pondering expression on Kipp’s face. “Why?”

“Well, is he up?” Kipp wondered, seeing Sarah nod slowly. “You know that smile that you got when you held Charles? You think it would work on Kyle?”

“That’s a perfect idea,” Kellen clapped his hands together, standing up quickly, “I think it would brighten his day. What do you say? You think he is feeling up to it?”

“I guess we could try that,” Sarah shrugged, slowly standing up and walking towards Kyle’s hospital room with the two men by her side, “He might be a little cranky--just thought I would warn you now before we go in there.”

“I’m sure it will all be okay,” Kipp winked, stopping right in front of the door to look back at a worried Sarah, “Unless you think it is better if we don’t.”

“No, I think you should,” she quickly answered, shrugging her shoulders, “At this point, I would want to do everything possible just to see him feel a little bit better.”

“In that case,” Kellen grinned, taking a step forward to open the door and walk in, “Hey there big guy.”

“Kellen,” Kyle coughed, sitting up in his bed slowly out of surprise, “Somehow, I never expected you to be coming here. So, what are you doing here?”

“What? I can’t come see the man I thought was once gay?” Kellen questioned with a tiny laugh. “I think I can come see my friend’s boyfriend.”

“About the gay thing,” Kyle thought for a second about the thing he didn’t want most people to know, as he nodded slowly, “Don’t say anything about that to Sarah.”

“Say anything about what Kyle?” Sarah wondered, raising her eyebrow is curiosity. “What is he talking about? And what exactly does he not want me to know?”

“Oh nothing,” Kellen held his hands up in the air, “Jade brought him to the gym once and I thought he was gay, so I hit on him. I mean it’s normal for a person to do that.”

“You hit on Kyle?” Kipp questioned, walking up from behind everybody with a frown spread over his features. “That’s odd. What made you think he was gay?”

“Jade told me that she had a--gay friend and I thought it was him,” Kellen shrugged with a small laugh, “Anyone could have made that mistake. You almost decked me that day, so are you still mad at me because of that?”

“No,” Kyle shook his head, letting a small smile pass his lips, “I just didn’t understand what was going on, but you are okay. As long as you keep your hands where I can see them.”

“I give up,” Kellen rolled his eyes before walking next to the bed, “I hope you’re feeling better.”

“Of course I am,” Kyle lied, looking back at Sarah who had a baby in her arms--making it easier to change the subject for him, “Is that Charles?”

“Yes it is,” Sarah answered, walking closer to the bed, “Kipp wanted to know if you would like to hold him.”

“Me?” Kyle questioned, looking towards Kipp who nodded. “I can’t do that, my arms are still shaking a little and…”

“It’s okay,” Kipp assured Kyle, seeing Sarah place Charles in his arms lightly, “You should get used to holding a baby--I think you two should have one soon.”

“I don’t think so,” Kyle laughed, shaking his head slowly before smiling as Charles’s eyes opened and Charles looked up at him, “I think this little guy is enough for now.”

“You never know,” Kellen shrugged, looking between Sarah and Kyle, “You two are both cute, so I can only imagine how gorgeous that baby would be.”

“Maybe,” Kyle pondered what they just said, looking up at Sarah seeing her looking down at the baby, “Maybe we should. I mean, why not?”

“Uh,” Sarah thought of something to say, as Charles fingers grasped onto Kyle’s finger tightly. “I don’t think we’re ready yet Kyle to have a baby.”

“I am,” Kyle pointed out with a small chuckle, feeling the strength of the baby already after the while he hadn’t seen him, “I mean, I always wanted a family and that would be a great way to start everything up. To have a family of our own.”

“We should start at little goals first,” Sarah declared, staring at Kipp who had started this whole conversation. “First you need to get better.”

“I think I already feel a whole lot better after seeing this little guy,” Kyle informed her with a wide smile, looking up at her with his dark, intense eyes, “He’s gotten so big and I can only imagine how it must feel to have a baby Kipp.”

“It feels great, like nothing else in the world is more important,” Kipp replied, folding his arms out in front of his chest, “It’s the one thing that let’s you know you’re still here.”

“I can’t wait to be a father,” Kyle smiled, holding Charles tighter in his arms, “It’s something that I’ve always dreamed about. Having a son or daughter to care for, it sounds perfect.”

“One day, you are going to be a great father,” Kellen insisted, squeezing Kyle’s shoulder lightly, “I will just be afraid for your daughter if you have a girl because every time she has a date--the only thing that she is going to be seeing is their backs as they run away.”

“I’m not that intimidating,” Kyle protested looking up at the expressions one everyone’s face, “Okay, so maybe I am a little bit intimidating.”


“So this is your place huh?” Trisha looked up at the flashing neon sign of the hotel before her. She glanced around the neighborhood noticing how dark things looked as Ray opened up the driver’s side door of his pickup truck.

“For now,” he muttered walking around front of the truck before opening the door for her, “I trust that won’t be a problem for you. You haven’t changed your mind about this, have you?”

“Of course not,” she reached for his hand jumping down to throw her arms around his shoulders, “I haven’t changed my mind for a second hot stuff. Tonight I’d like to see just what comes up between us.”

“Oh I bet you would,” he smiled down at her thinking about all the things he’d like to do to her nice, young body. Her eyes seemed to flicker with a certain sense of innocence, yet she was trying to play like she was tough. Sure, she might really believe that she was going to prove herself tonight, but she had no ideas in which way she would face the ultimate test. He reached out to stroke her long, dark hair gingerly, “Now you’re sure you want to go inside and play with me?”

“What do you think?” she questioned in a low, sultry tone, her words striking upon his lips before her mouth followed. He reached down to squeeze her small bottom before stepping back.

“I think its time to see just what you’re capable of tonight,” he mouthed with an amused grin. Reaching for her hand he lead her back towards his hotel room with a smirk, “Now you’re going to have to be quiet because most of the people staying here are pretty old and don’t know how to have any fun anymore.”

“Believe me I think I’ve been more than surrounded by the type lately,” she admitted with a nervous laugh thinking back to when she’d walked in on Ria and Kevin in bed together. Oh sure they knew how to have fun alright--at her expense. Well, she would show them. The both of them would live to regret the way that they’d treated her.

“We’re here,” Ray announced pulling her back into his arms. He kissed her eagerly, his hands roaming over her body greedily, “You ready for a night you’ll never forget?”

“Boy am I ever,” she squealed returning his kisses with enthusiasm. She felt him pull her into his hotel room and just before she’d gotten much of a look around, she felt him push her into the door behind her closing it with a thud.

“Oh you are something,” he mouthed against her lips, his hands dropping down to the bottom of her skirt. He pinned her in against the door, his fingers tearing at her dress and pulling it up over her hips.

“Whoa, slow down,” Trisha breathed as his hand slipped inside her panties. She grabbed his wrist, her eyes reaching out to his as she felt her breath escape her lips, “We don’t have to rush this. We can take all night if need be.”

“Oh we’ll take all night,” he promised her, his hand still tugging at her peach colored panties, “but right now I want to see what you look like with your face twisted in pleasure.”

“Ray,” she breathed his name, feeling his knee between her legs. He urged her thighs apart as his finger sank into her. He stroked her roughly, another finger pressing into her as his lips drank up her protests. She pressed her hands up over his shoulders to try to put a distance between them, “Slow down.”

“I thought this was what you wanted Trisha,” his eyes were darker now, more primal as his touch grew more frantic, more invasive. He thrust himself inside her again and again, his hand causing a pressure to build from inside of her. “Didn’t you come here tonight for something like this?”

“Yes, but no…” she blurted out a sudden realization dawning over her. Here she was in a strange hotel with a man she’d just met and the things he was doing to her, they didn’t feel right. None of it felt right at all. It felt… “Ray stop!”

“Stop,” he laughed lightly, feeling her grasp at his wrist again. Her plea only served as the spark to fuel his fire for her. She’d been tempting before--beautiful in so many ways when she’d been trying to play it up as a big shot, but now, well now the terror burning behind her brown eyes had him tempted in ways that she couldn’t even begin to imagine. He raised his hand clasping it around her neck tightly, “Oh but Trisha I thought you wanted to play.”

Her eyes widened in horror. She tried to move out of his reach, but his hold on her was firm and unyielding. She brought her own hands up to try to get him to ease up on her, but he just slammed her into the door once again. She opened her mouth trying to scream, but instead a pinched whisper came out.

“Why are you doing this?” she bellowed tears now falling freely from her eyes as he threw her into the door once again.

“Only because you wanted to play Trisha,” he reminded her, revealing the blade that he’d had in his pocket. He held it up to the base of her throat watching her breath grow unsteady. With her movement, the blade broke the skin, the first teasing hint of her blood glistening in it’s beautiful crimson color over her creamy flesh. He leaned in towards her, his words dark and menacing as he guided her over towards the bed. He threw her back down before moving in over her, his plans already set in motion as he started tearing at her clothes. She lay beneath him looking like a deer in the headlines and as he held the blade to her throat applying a little more pressure he smiled down at her wickedly, “Tonight we’re going to play in ways you can’t even begin to imagine. That much I can promise you.”


Grady entered his house, not bothering to turn on the lights as he tossed his keys haphazardly around the room. He wasn’t quite sure what came next, but after his confrontation back at the hospital with Brant and Avery, he knew that being there was the last place for him at a time like this. He’d gone off on his own to do some thinking, but it hadn’t helped. It only reminded him further about what he’d lost in his life.

“I was hoping you’d come home tonight,” Elliot spoke up over the shadows, the worry evident behind his voice without Grady actually seeing him. Grady looked around straining to see his father, but all he could make out was the dark silhouette from the couch. The lamp next to the couch went on and Grady noticed Elliot there.

“I heard about Kyle and about Susan,” Elliot explained simply, his worries evident behind his eyes, “and then it got me thinking about you.”

“I don’t know why you came over here,” Grady shrugged out of his jacket, “I’m fine.”

“No son you’re not fine. You haven’t been fine in a while and maybe it’s time we stop pretending that you,” Elliot explained rising to his feet, “Son I know this has to be killing you, so why don’t we just start talking about that?”

“There’s nothing to say,” Grady walked past his father into the kitchen, “I think everything kind of speaks for itself and I’d really rather leave it at that.”

“Son, there’s no fooling me. I know you’re upset and I think it’s long past time that we talk,” Elliot explained firmly, “In fact I’m not leaving until we do.”

“Then we’re going to be in for a long night dad because I’ve got nothing to say,” Grady replied stubbornly thinking of all the accusations Brant had thrown out at him. In a way Brant had only reaffirmed Grady’s beliefs about the situation. Brant was right. Grady had no one to blame but himself in this matter and it was time to accept that reality.


“Sarah,” Blake called out Sarah’s name, seeing her sitting next to a sleeping Kyle’s bed, “Can you talk a second?”

“Yeah,” Sarah nodded, standing up slowly and following Blake towards the lobby, shutting Kyle’s door behind her, “How are you today?”

“Looks like I am doing better than you,” Blake pointed out, leading them to take a seat in the lobby, “Have you slept at all lately?”

“No,” Sarah answered, leaning back in her chair, “I just wanted to be up for Kyle, just in case he needed anything.”

“Speaking of Kyle,” Blake looked towards Kyle’s hospital room, “What happened to him? I heard a few things, but nothing really clearly told me what happened.”

“He got drugged by Susan and he basically went crazy,” Sarah informed Blake with a small laugh, “It was actually funny--the man before me didn’t even seem like the man I loved. After I walked in the room to see her on him…”

“On him?” Blake questioned, slightly out bursting, “She raped him?”

“Yeah, they were…” Sarah gulped down, lost on her own words before shaking her head slowly, “When I found them.”

“That must have torn you in two,” Blake pointed out with a frown, placing her hand on Sarah’s shoulder lightly, “How did you know that Kyle wasn’t with her?”

“The fact that he was groaning out in agony,” Sarah declared, shaking her head slowly, “I’ve heard him in a lot of pain before, but this was too much. I’ve never heard a person in so much pain.”

“Is he doing any better?” Blake worriedly questioned seeing Sarah shrug.

“He won’t tell the truth,” Sarah informed her, shrugging her shoulders once more, “It’s like he doesn’t want me to know that he is still hurt.”

“Poor guy,” Blake bit down on her bottom lip roughly, “What happened after you got him to the hospital?”

“He passed out,” Sarah remembered what had happened, shaking her head slowly, “His pulse had dropped severely and I was so scared that I was going to lose him. I thought that I would have lost the man I have loved my whole life.”

“He’s still here,” Blake hushed, seeing the sadness peaking through Sarah’s face, “All that matters is that he is still here with us. He’s going to be fine.”

“I just wish this wouldn’t have happened to him,” Sarah sighed, knowing how Kyle was just trying to help Grady out, “He was just trying to be a good person and help Grady. He wanted to be the guy who would get more information to help them find Jade.”

“Kyle is a good guy and he never deserved something like this,” Blake agreed, shaking her head slowly, “I can’t believe Susan would do something like this. She screwed up Kyle’s life and now she is doing a pretty good job on yours.”

“I will be fine,” Sarah insisted with a small laugh, “I’m just a little worried about Kyle, that’s all.”

“Right,” Blake rolled her eyes, taking Sarah’s hand in hers gently, “Anyone with eyes can tell that you are upset. It’s like your heart is still in pain.”

“Seeing something like that kind of gets your mind thinking,” Sarah took in a deep breath, her eyes burning, “It makes you want to hold on to the person you love before you lose them. And I realized that I almost lost Kyle, I wouldn’t have been able to live without him Blake.”

“It’s okay, everything is going to be okay,” Blake promised, wrapping her arms around Sarah, pulling her into a hug, “Everything is going to be back to normal soon.”


“I’ll be in the hallway if you need me,” Deidra explained leaving the two men alone with one another to talk.

Dave approached Ken’s bed, his eyes traveling over his one time best friend as he found himself at a loss. Moving forward Dave cleared his throat uneasily, “So, how are you feeling?”

“Like hell,” Ken admitted with an ironic laugh, “though that seems to be a trend for me these days.”

“I’m sorry to hear that,” Dave frowned, “You shouldn’t be in this position.”

“Yeah, well see that’s what I get for finding myself involved with the wrong woman. Here I thought once upon a time that being with Susan was fun and exciting and now, well now it almost wound up costing me my life,” Ken sighed heavily closing his eyes, “I didn’t even see it coming this time, so what kind of fool does it make me?”

“You’re not a fool. I don’t think anyone had any idea what kind of woman Susan was,” Dave offered up feeling sorry for Ken.

“You saw it,” Ken looked over to him, “I remember quite clearly your response to learning that I was sleeping with Grady Denton’s wife. You told me that I was making a huge mistake and it would come back to haunt me.”

“This is not what I meant at the time Ken,” Dave added quilt rushing over him at the memory.

“I know that, but you were right. You were right about so many things,” Ken shook his head another sigh passing through his tired lips, “It seems like the harder I try, the more I lose out here. I screwed up so many things by being a jackass. I hurt so many people…”

“It wasn’t entirely your fault Ken,” Dave confessed hating to admit the truth before him.

“Yes, but you warned me. You were trying to be my best friend back then when I was ready to give up on the world. When Wendy left me I was a mess and you knew it. You knew that I was doing something I would live to regret and now, well now I wish I would’ve listened to you,” Ken let out a small, sad laugh, “In so many ways I wish I would’ve been more like you.”

“Ken stop,” Dave pleaded with him as thoughts of Carly and Kayla filled his mind, “You don’t know what you’re saying.”

“No I do,” Ken looked to him again, “I was a complete and total jerk and while Susan drugging me explains some of it, it doesn’t take back what I did to you. How I hurt my best friend.”

“Ken, it’s not important right now. What’s important is…” Dave tried to cut him off hoping that they wouldn’t go down that road with one another again.

“That night with Carly,” Ken blurted out much to Dave’s dismay, “That first night we slept together, well, it wasn’t like it was when we were together after I’d been drugged. After Susan drugged me I was nothing short of a monster and I know I hurt Carly. I hurt a lot of people and I realize that in the process I hurt you as well.”

“Ken, you don’t need to…” Dave practically pleaded with him, “I really don’t think that.”

“Dave, when I made love to her that first night all those years ago, I was caught up in all of my own problems. I acted like a jerk and I knew that I shouldn’t have done it. When Carly and I were together we were both hurting--me because I was losing Wendy and her because, well because she thought she lost you,” Ken revealed his voice raw and cracked with emotion, “It was a one time thing back then and I knew the whole time we were together that she wanted to be with you--that she loved you. She never stopped loving you. I was only an afterthought that became a regret in the long run.”

“Ken, I appreciate your saying that but you don‘t have to…,” Dave started to explain as his pager went off. Dave reached for it looking down to see it was work. Frowning he glanced over at Ken once again, “Can you give me a minute?”

“Sure,” Ken nodded watching Dave walk over to the other bed area to return the call.

Ken closed his eyes thinking about Carly--about the things that he’d done to hurt her and the way that he’d felt about her once they’d started their affair up again. While Ken knew full well it had been the drugs that had prompted him to be confident enough to pursue her relentlessly again, he was also well aware of the fact that somewhere down the line he’d fallen for her. The truth was the drugs hadn’t prompted him to fall in love with Carly. That had happened all on it’s own, but now when Ken thought of how he’d hurt her, he promised himself he’d do the best possible thing for Carly--try to get her another chance at happiness in her life with a man who truly would be all she needed.

He heard Dave hang up the phone and he looked to his friend with tired eyes. Seeing the expression on Dave’s face, Ken realized that something was up--something major.

“Dave, what’s wrong?” Ken questioned in a small voice, “What happened?”

“Ken, it’s Susan,” Dave blurted out worry evident in his tone, “Apparently she broke out of the custody of the guard who was taking her to her cell. I‘m not sure what quite happened, but the gist of it is that she‘s free. She‘s escaped.”


“So what do you think of the place now that you’re sober?” Hart teased watching Jenna move through his condominium. Her eyes scrutinized everything as she passed beyond him from the living room into the bedroom. She walked over to his dresser and opened up the top drawer only to extract a pair of handcuffs from within.

“What are these?” she questioned dangling them up in the air for him to see.

“Those…” he repeated with a gulp, his eyes filled with horror, “those aren’t mine.”

“Yeah right,” she shook her nose at him before setting them on top of his dresser.

“No really they aren’t mine,” Hart protested moving in beside her, “I honestly have never seen them in my life.”

“Hart, do you really expect me to believe that in your swinging bachelor pad that you’ve never, ever had a pair of handcuffs on reserve?” she threw out a pointed look, “What kind of idiot do you take me for?”

“I never said that I didn’t have handcuffs in my apartment let alone my bedroom, but I can assure you that these in particular aren’t my pair,” Hart reached for them pulling them up off of his dresser. “I swear to you that they aren’t.”

“I know,” Jenna spun around to snatch them from his fingers, “They’re mine. I planted them there to test you.”

“You what?” his eyes widened in response, “You mean you were trying to trick me into something? Like some kind of admission or…”

“I was just trying to see what dark and twisted activities you were into when you lived here,” Jenna teased further, her fingertips trailing off over his shoulders, taking the time to glide over the lines of his arms, “and from the looks of things you were once a very naughty boy Hart.”

“I’m a whole hell of a lot naughtier now that I’m here with you,” he moved in closer to her, his eyes filled with a certain sparkle behind them.

“Hmm, well I suppose since you were brave enough to bring me here, that should win you brownie points,” she teased with a small laugh, “Of course you know at the same time I’m feeling a bit intimidated by the memory of this place. Given that this was obviously your chick magnet for a great many years…”

“Trust me beautiful,” Hart wrapped his arms around her waist, “there hasn’t been a chick in here that’s as amazing as you are. They’ve all suffered in comparison to you. Now about those handcuffs of yours…”

“Not so fast Romeo,” she placed her hand between them nudging him on the chest just a bit, “If you’re thinking about a seduction, then you’re going to have to work for it.”

“Well I’d just assumed that you’d wanted me to come over here for our one big thrill. We’d talked about,” he began in protest feeling her finger press in over his lips.

“I know what I said Hart, but right now, well right now I’m in the mood to be entertained,” she decided sauntering around his bed. She fingered the comforter as she moved, her nail dragging along the silken cover until she wound up on the other side of the room. She looked to him with a saucy expression before taking a seat in one of the chairs he’d had near the window. She crossed her legs in front of her before speaking up again, “Entertain me.”

“Right here,” Hart questioned looking around his darkened bedroom.

She licked her lips in response, “Right now,” she nodded. She spotted a radio beside where she sat. Flicking on the power button she heard the fun, frisky beats playing on the radio. She eyed him up and down before snapping her fingers at him, “Well what are you waiting for?”

“Right now,” he questioned taking a step towards her. He moved in closer to where she sat, a smile spreading broadly over his features.

“Right now,” she repeated extending her leg out to place her foot in the center of his chest to prevent him from getting any closer to her. He curled his fingers around her ankle massaging it gently before he felt her kick out to nudge him back. “Dance for me.”

“As you wish,” Hart reached out to grab a cowboy hat off of the top of his bookshelf before placing it on the center of his head. He winked at her before taking a step back. “This one’s for you baby.”

“It had better be good,” Jenna sank back into the chair ready to critique his moves.

He started off slow, his hands moving to the front of his shirt as if he was going to open it, but instead he spun around shaking his bottom for a moment or two before facing her again. He tipped his hat before leaning in closer to her. She reached out to him flicking open the top button on his shirt before he moved back. He circled around the room shaking his hips and popping open buttons on his shirt one by one. Once he’d finished with that task, he started to peel the material apart in a peek-a-boo motion.

Jenna leaned forward really getting into it as she started whistling and making catcalls at him. Her cheering only seemed to encourage him to continue as inch by inch he revealed his chest to her. With each new patch of skin, she cheered clapping her hands at him excitedly until he pulled his shirt off completely. Holding it in his hands he swung it around over his head watching her eyes completely mesmerized on him.

“Work it baby!” she cheered catching the shirt as he threw it at her. He moved in closer to her tipping down to catch her lips in a sexy, savory kiss before pulling back. He deposited his cowboy hat on top of her head before moving around the room in skilled, determined movements. She felt her own pulse racing, her heart sending her body signals in ways that had her wanting like hell to get up and finish the job of undressing him, but she remained calm. She was going to enjoy the show and the ride that came along with it after.

“This is for you,” Hart blew another kiss out at her before his fingers moved in over his belt. He teased with the buckle before spinning away from her. He unfastened it tugging it a bit out of the loophole before stepping in closer to her. He motioned to the leather before her, “Would you care to do the honors?”

“I don’t mind if I do,” Jenna nodded tugging on his belt and pulling it completely out of his pants. She reached out to unbutton them as well, but he swatted at her hand.

“You can look, but don’t touch until I say so,” Hart stepped back wanting to give her a whole new kind of thrill ride. He spun around again before popping open the top button on his pants. He moved closer towards her before moving back again. He repeated the movement throwing in another round of dance moves before he unzipped his fly. Her eyes were immediately drawn to the movement and with great pleasure and patience he began to shimmy out of his jeans. His body seemed to spring to life as he finally stood before her at the conclusion of the song clad only in his boxers.

“Come over here,” he wiggled his finger at her.

“Right over here,” Jenna feigned innocence as he nodded.

“And bring those handcuffs with you because I think it’s time for me to begin my own strip search,” Hart tugged her up and into his arms for a daring kiss.

She couldn’t help but laugh as he held her. Everything was light, fun and frisky at the same time, but soon their kisses grew hotter and transformed with the growing passion between them. His hands crept in underneath her shirt, ready to pull it up and over her head when he heard a ringing at his front door.

“Son of a bitch,” Hart cursed under his breath.

“Think they’ll go away,” Jenna questioned holding the cool metal handcuffs against his bare chest tempting him more and more with each passing second. The doorbell continued.

“Oh I’ll make them go away,” Hart decided kissing her once more before reaching for his robe. He quickly pushed himself into it before marching over to the door. He opened it with a scowl. “What?”

“Hart, I was hoping I’d catch you in,” the man before him dressed in a suit and overcoat explained behind dark eyes. Hart looked to him for a long moment before slamming the door in his face without saying a word. He turned around to see Jenna standing in the doorway of his bedroom looking confused at his reaction to their guest.

“I know you said you wanted to get rid of who was there, but don’t you think that was a little harsh,” she frowned at him as she caught the man’s expression when he’d slammed the door in his face. “Don’t you think you should’ve said something?”

“Nope,” Hart shook his head locking the door before marching towards her, “It wasn’t important. It was no one.”

“No one?” Jenna repeated with wide eyes, “Hart I…”

“It really was just nobody. It was just my father. No big deal,” he shrugged his shoulders casually before walking back into the bedroom and leaving Jenna to wonder what in the world just happened.


“How are you feeling?” Avery questioned, rubbing her hand along Brant’s back soothingly.

“I don’t know,” Brant sighed deeply, shaking his head slowly, “I just feel really bad that this happened to Ken. I mean, I never would have guessed. I never tried to help him.”

“You didn’t know,” Avery reminded him with a frown, as he leaned against the wall, “You should know that.”

“That’s it,” Blake approached Brant, shaking her head slowly, “I need to talk to Ken about Susan, like right now.”

“Hey now,” Brant held Blake back, arching his eyebrow at her sudden anger, “What’s up with you?”

“I was just talking to Sarah and she is miserable,” Blake explained, resting her hands on her hips, “I just don’t understand why something like this happens. I want to find that Susan and kill her for what she has done.”

“Calm down Blake,” Brant hushed, seeing Blake pace back and forth, holding her hands up in the air, “What’s on your mind?”

“I don’t understand these women,” Blake declared unhappily, “They screw with a guy and try to hurt them when he isn’t interested in her.”

“Blake, honey, men do that too,” Brant reminded her with a small shrug seeing her nod quickly, “It happens to a lot of people.”

“I know that,” Blake shot back, shrugging her shoulders, “But I am basically putting all my anger towards Susan--who is a woman…I think.”

“Blake, she isn’t worth getting excited for,” Brant pointed out shaking his head slowly, “She is going to get what she deserves, you don’t have to worry.”

“But I do,” Blake shot back, folding her arms out in front of her chest, “Susan has messed up my family and my friends. Sarah is miserable and Kyle was nearly killed along with Ken. I would like to get my own hands on that woman.”

“I think that’s how everyone feels right now,” Brant agreed, reaching out to touch his sister’s shoulder lightly, “but right now you have to let justice get to her and worry about getting to her later. I understand that you are upset, but you can’t let it get you this worked up.”

“I can’t help it Brant,” Blake declared as she looked down the hallway, “I can’t stand what she did to hurt everybody and she deserves to get payback.”

“She will get hers,” Brant promised with a laugh, “She can’t get away with all of this.”

“I know,” Blake sighed, rolling her eyes, “All this time I thought that Susan would just leave everyone alone. Can you believe how wrong I was?”

“We were all wrong, none of us never saw this coming,” Brant insisted before shrugging his shoulders, “Well, some of us knew that she was still a crazy bitch, but still.”

“I never liked her,” Blake informed him with a frown, “She was always a bitch in my eyes and now she is on the same level as a cockroach. Something that I want to step on and splatter all over the ground.”

“Just wait until she gets to jail,” Brant laughed deeply, “She won’t be able to handle what goes on in that place.”


“Kyle, you need some rest,” Sarah pointed, seeing him sit up in his bed slowly, “You shouldn’t be staying up this long.”

“I think I have had enough sleep,” Kyle retorted, shaking his head slowly, “It looks like you are the one who needs to get some sleep. You know, if you want to go home and get some sleep--I know I will be fine.”

“I couldn’t leave you,” Sarah protested, shaking her head slowly, “I want to be here with you, to help you through everything and I guess someday I hope you would do the same.”

“I will always be there for you,” Kyle pointed out reaching his hand out to hers, running his thumb along the top of her hand gently, “About earlier.”

“What about it?” she questioned with a small sigh, seeing his dark eyes look into hers with intensity. “With the Kellen thing? I don’t mind, I know it was a mistake.”

“No, not that,” Kyle shook his head slowly, biting down on his bottom lip, “About the baby. I really do think we should have a baby of our own.”

“We will,” Sarah nodded slowly, holding Kyle’s hand in hers lightly, “Eventually.”

“Why wait?” Kyle questioned unhappily. “I mean, we’re here. We love each other, that’s what a family is all about. I don’t have a family and maybe it would be a good thing to have a child of our own.”

“Well, we have to get our life back on line first,” Sarah explained, seeing the intense look behind his eyes, “You have always had a family. Grady, Russ, Jade, Avery, Shannon, Diego, me.”

“Yeah, I know,” Kyle nodded, before closing his eyes tightly in pain, “And how many people in my so called family has died? Let’s see, my parents died--they got killed. Russ, well we all know what happened to Russ. Now Jade, god this is a real pleasure to have everyone dying around me.”

“Kyle, you need to think of the happier things before thinking of the bad things,” she sighed, squeezing his hand tighter.

“Sarah, if you have a baby,” Kyle began to explain how he was feeling, just trying to let her know, “You can always have a piece of me, something to remind you of me. Just in case one day I am gone from what’s going on.”

“Don’t talk like that Kyle,” Sarah pleaded, seeing the intense look he had, “I don’t want to think about losing you anymore. I have been thinking that way too much. Kyle, I could never live without you and I don’t even want to think about that.”

“It's something that you have to at least recognize because it could happen Sarah,” Kyle pointed out, letting go of her hand, “You don’t know what is going to happen to me. No one really does.”

“You aren’t leaving me Kyle,” Sarah declared shaking his head slowly, “Never.”

“Come here,” Kyle frowned grabbing her hand and pulling her up and towards him so he could wrap his arms around her, “I’m never going to leave you. I promise.”

“You better not,” Sarah laughed, feeling him pull her close to his face so he could place a kiss upon her lips gently, “I don’t want to know what it would feel like to never kiss you again.”

“We wouldn’t want that to happen,” Kyle laughed before hearing someone close the door after entering the room. He looked towards the door to see who had come in as Sarah sat down. “Dave? What are you doing here?”

“I have some news,” Dave replied, taking in a deep breath as he walked towards Kyle’s bed, “I know this is a really bad time, but…”

“But what?” Kyle questioned, shaking his head slowly. “What is it now? I know this isn’t going to be good.”

“Kyle, I know this is going to be hard,” Dave informed him, biting down on his lower lips, “Susan has escaped from jail. No one even knows where she could have fled. It’s like she disappeared out of nowhere.”

“Dave,” Kyle thought of something to say before laughing, “Right about now I would be like one of those actors wishing that I was on Punk’d, but I know that’s not going to happen.”

“I’m really sorry that I had to be the one to tell you this,” Dave apologized enclosing his hands together, “Believe me, I wish that it wasn’t like this, but it is.”

“Things just keep getting better and better,” Kyle yelled, looking away from everyone, “Isn’t it?”

“Kyle, calm down,” Sarah hushed, hating to know that he was feeling more pain than he should be, “You shouldn’t be getting this worked up.”

“I’m going to be worked up,” Kyle raised his voice even more, “How could Susan escape from jail? How? Explain that to me.”

“We don’t know,” Dave replied shaking his head slowly, “She just disappeared Kyle. We are looking for her as we speak. I’m sorry about this whole thing Kyle.”

“I’m real sorry too,” Kyle stated, biting down on his bottom lip, “Real sorry.”


“Now,” Ray began his eyes glimmering with the possibilities of where to start as he looked down at Trisha. He ran the blade of the knife over her neck once more, watching it cause another thin line of blood to rush to the surface--not enough to hurt her really, but enough to keep her completely terrified, “where were we? Ah yes…”

Trisha’s eyes widened in horror as he grinned down at her. The purely sadistic expression on his face had her remembering all the reasons why her mother taught her never to go home with strangers. She thought of all the times she would’ve refrained from behaving so foolishly, but now her life began to flash before her eyes. She let out a small whimper feeling a numbing sensation across the center of her throat. He was going to kill her. This man who had picked her up was going to murder her, but she was sure that wasn’t the worst of it.

“You said you wanted to play Trisha,” Ray lowered the knife a bit holding it over the bottom part of her neck. Carefully he guided it down over the center of her shirt, ripping the material as he moved. She sucked in a breath fearing that if she moved even the slightest bit he’d cut her heart out. She fought with her tears, tried to put herself in another place--a place where her regrets weren’t hitting her right square in the face, but it was too much. It was too overwhelming and when she felt him lift the knife, his hands reaching out to rip open her shirt she knew she needed to act. It was her only opportunity to escape.

Knowing that he must’ve been focusing elsewhere Trisha was able to wrench her knee out from underneath of him. She shot it up straight into his groan. She saw the surprise behind his eyes, the sheer confusion as pain shot up through him. He fell backward over onto the bed and with every ounce of courage and energy she had inside of her Trisha stumbled forward.

“Get back here you little bitch!” he reached for her foot, his voice a low growl as pain still registered behind his features. Trisha used it to her advantage clumsily kicking him in the center of his face before she crawled to the door. She tugged on it straining to pull herself up. She could hear his labored breath, sense his anger, but she knew she had only one choice--escape.

She wasn’t sure how she did it, but she managed to pry open the lock. Rushing out into the night, she felt her knees give away under her. She tripped, but pulled herself up again somehow. She felt as if the night was closing in on her--as if breathing was the hardest thing in the world to do, but she had to keep pushing on. Barefoot and freezing Trisha ran through the night screaming for help. She tried to get into the other rooms, but no one answered. She heard the sounds of Ray from behind her. He was up again and if he caught her it would all be over for her.

“Help me please!” Trisha screamed into the night seeing no reprieve in sight. She turned away from the hotel seeing a light up ahead. It was the old theater. For some reason it’s lights were shining bright and it looked like a slice of heaven to her. She could hear Ray gaining on her and she had to escape. She had to fight for her life because if she didn’t she knew it would be over. He would find a way to torture her--to hurt her for fighting back and then ultimately kill her. She couldn’t have that. Fleeing towards the light Trisha felt her heart hammering in her chest, her mind racing with the thoughts of what Ray could do to her. She was almost there. She was so very close. So very…

Feeling her knee give out, she stumbled forward collapsing on the cold concrete. There were some kind of pebbles and broken glass on the ground and in that moment she realized her legs were useless. Something had happened. She looked down to see Ray out of the corner of her eye. He was still coming towards her. He was going to kill her. She was going to die! Tears of realization hit her hard.

“Help me!” she screamed with sheer terror looking up to see a pair of headlights ahead. The car was coming at her too fast--too soon and before she knew it the world fell to darkness.


“Oh my God,” Mindy gasped in horror motioning to whatever it was in the center of the road, “Hunt stop!”

Hunt slammed on the brakes barely missing the thing that now blocked the intersection. He looked to Mindy and Brittany before letting out a small breath, “Are you both alright?”

Brittany nodded, “I’m okay. Are you?”

He nodded turning to Mindy, “What about you?”

“Someone’s out there Hunt,” Mindy’s eyes widened as she saw something crawling around.

“Do you think we hit it?” he asked seeing the panic behind Mindy’s eyes.

“I don’t know,” she admitted worriedly.

“I’ll go check,” Hunt decided opening the front door. He glanced to Mindy inside of his car, “You stay here. I’ll be right back.”

“Okay,” she nodded watching him circle around the front of the car.

“Hello,” Hunt questioned uneasily circling around to see someone on the ground before him. There in the middle of a puddle lay a woman in a heap whimpering and sobbing. He rushed over to her fearing that he’d hit her with the car. He looked to the bumper seeing no damage, but that didn’t mean anything at this point. He reached for her feeling her tense up before she let out a scream. Her dark eyes turned up towards his and he could see the terror behind her eyes.

“Help me…please…” she begged of him in a small raspy tone fearing that the worst was yet to come.

Hunt nodded accordingly hearing a sound in the distance. He looked up to see a shadow rushing off into the night. He wasn’t sure what was going on, but when he saw the cut over her neck, he realized he didn’t have time to hesitate. Reaching down to scoop her up into his arms Hunt carried her back to the car.

“Hunt, what is it? What…” Mindy trailed off seeing a woman in his arms.

“We have to get to the hospital…fast,” Hunt explained sliding into the passenger seat as he urged Mindy to get behind the wheel. “She needs help.”

“Okay,” Mindy nodded looking to Brittany. “Everything is going to be okay.”

“What’s wrong with her?” Brittany asked in a small voice looking to the woman in Hunt’s arms.

“She’s going to be okay Brittany,” Hunt repeated once more seeing the woman before him shaking with fear. “You’re going to be okay.”

She said nothing, but as Hunt held her trying to find a way to stop the bleeding from continuing he had a feeling that this had nothing to do with his almost hitting her. He could see terror behind her brown eyes and as he tried to speak up to her once again, he felt his heart pained by the way she seemed lost inside herself.

“What’s your name,” he asked in a smooth, even voice.

“Trisha,” she replied in a hoarse whisper closing her eyes, “My name is Trisha.”

“Well Trisha the nightmare is almost over,” he promised her. “Just hold on. You’re safe now.”

Trisha closed her eyes listening to his words, but she wondered if she’d truly ever be safe again. Remembering Ray’s attack on her she was filled with a panic that she feared may never go away even in her escape.


Augustus reached for his jacket ready to return to the hospital after he’d dealt with the messy business with Heather. One problem solved, he thought to himself remembering the promise that his lawyers made about Heather’s custody battle being a sure thing. Now that he’d gotten that out of the way, there was only one thing left to do and that was focus on Ken and his recovery. Moving to the door he got ready to go out to the car, but when he opened the door he saw Zoë before him.

“I hope this isn’t a bad time,” Zoë smiled up at him, “You look like you were on your way out.”

“I was but, I always have time for you,” Augustus explained reaching out to embrace his daughter, “It’s good to see you back. Come on inside.”

“I heard about Ken and I was one my way over to check on Blake, but I got a little sidetracked,” Zoë admitted uneasily, “Father I think it’s time you and I had a talk.”

“A talk,” Augustus repeated seeing upset behind her eyes, “Sweetheart, what is it?”

“Well, you see…there’s no easy way to put this,” Zoë fidgeted on her feet shuffling uneasily, “Can we sit down or something?”

“Of course,” Augustus nodded leading her into the mansion.

“I hope I’m not really keeping you,” she apologized her worries mounting by the moment.

“No, of course not. I was going to see Ken, but now you can go with me if you’d like,” Augustus suggested glancing over his shoulder at her. “I was running behind because I’d made a promise to someone and I had to follow through on my end. You know how it goes with business.”

“Unfortunately only too well,” she nodded in response her hands shaky as she prepared to have a very long overdue talk with her father. Looking around the room, she felt her brother’s influence even now. She hadn’t been back to the mansion after Nicholas had died, but now, well now even after his death his ghost seemed to remain haunting her life.

“Zoë, what is it? You sounded perplexed on the phone. Did something happen with the book deal?” he questioned worried about her.

“No father, this isn’t about the book. This is about me--about our family--about Nicholas,” she explained inhaling slowly, “about the things he did to me. He tried to destroy my life and I let him because I was young and naïve and stupid.”

“I don’t understand. Zoë, where is this coming from?” he replied seeing the tears building behind her eyes.

“It’s coming from the fact that when I was a teenager I was having an affair with a married man--with one of your associates. When Nicholas was starting to come into his own with his first company, he’d decided it was time to push around some of that influence that the Ashford name had with it,” she explained fighting to keep control of her emotions, “He found out about my affair and he threatened to expose it.”

“Zoë, I don’t understand…” Augustus repeated feeling as if he was totally out of the loop where her breakdown was concerned.

“Father I was pregnant,” she blurted out with an exaggerated breath, “I found out shortly after the affair ended, but you were gone overseas and I was afraid--I was so afraid of what my child would do to our family. Nicholas convinced me that if I kept the baby, you would hate me--that the entire family would shun me and that it would be best if I gave my son up. I was stupid and I believed that I had no other choice, so when I went to Europe to study for a while, I did it simply to deliver my son when I couldn’t hide him any longer from anyone. Remember how Nicholas went with me?”

“Zoë, I remember it well, but you were never pregnant,” Augustus stated simply thinking about that summer his daughter had been very distant from the family.

“Yes, I was and then when my son was born Nicholas convinced me to give him up for adoption. I didn’t want to do it, but he reminded me over and over again of how my son would shame our family--of how my keeping him would always have my son in harm’s way should his father find out about him. I didn’t want to give him up, but then Nicholas made me believe I had no other alternative, so I did.”

“Are you saying that…” Augustus watched her fall to pieces before him. Her pain rushing through the surface.

“That’s why I left. It’s why I refused to be part of the family any longer. I couldn’t live with myself after what I’d done--after Nicholas manipulated me and especially after I’d found out what he did,” she explained her voice rising with emotion, “He not only convinced me to give up my son, but he wound up handing him over to his father--to the man I promised myself that I would keep him away from. He sold my son out for the money to get his company off of the ground by blackmailing the man I was seeing.”

“Zoë, I can’t believe you wouldn’t tell me about this--about any of it.” he sat down overwhelmed with what she was saying, “Why didn’t you mention it before?”

“Because I wasn’t sure what to say--what to do. When Nicholas died, I found myself wanting to do what I could to get my son back, but I felt that he’d been happy. His life sounded like it was everything I’d wanted for him aside from his father raising him and I didn’t want to disrupt it, but now…” she let out a small whimper, “I don’t want to waste anymore time. I saw on the television the things that have been happening to my son and I can’t afford to fail him now. He needs me back in his life.”

“Of course he does,” Augustus nodded in agreement, “When we locate him, you know I will do anything that I can to help you with this.”

“You have no idea how much it means to me,” Zoë hugged her father eagerly, “I knew I could count on you given that family always comes first. I don’t know what made me believe that you wouldn’t have accepted my son in the first place. I made so many mistakes, but now…”

“Now you won’t have to worry about them any longer. We’ll find your boy and then we’ll find a way to fix this situation. We’ll make the man who manipulated your brother pay,” Augustus promised trying to reassure his daughter, “I can’t believe that you would hold it in for so very long.”

“It’s hard to think that I did myself, but now that I’m here--now that I’m back in Coral Valley again, I know I’m doing the right thing. He’s an adult now, but that doesn’t mean that I can’t at least try,” she continued with a sniffle, “When I read in the news that he’d died a few months ago, my heart was broken into pieces, but then when I was following the Denton trial I saw that he was still alive and…”

“Denton trial,” Augustus repeated giving her a strange look. A sudden sense of panic and worry swept over him, “Zoë, just who is it that you had an affair with?”

“Douglas Mahoney and he stole our son Kipp from me, but now, well now I’m back and I want to reach out to Kipp and let him know the truth about the horrible things his father has done.”

“Kipp,” Augustus gulped in response, “Kipp Mahoney.”

“That’s right,” she nodded overcome with her guilt, “I never should’ve given him up, but now, well now I’m going to do anything and everything in my power to help him and bring him into my life again. I read in the news that he’s involved in a custody battle of his own…”

“You don’t say,” Augustus feigned innocence as he thought back to the final touches he’d put into his deal with Heather. When Heather was making demands for her son, it was an easy way to get her out of Brant’s life, but now, well knowing that Kipp was Zoë’s son, it changed all of the rules so much so that Augustus realized he was truly in a bit of a conundrum himself.

“You will help me help him, won’t you?” she looked up at him with sad eyes.

“Of course I will. Family always comes first,” he whispered realizing that he’s unintentionally pulled himself into a family battle that he may not be able to get himself out of now that the wheels were already in motion.


“Poor Kyle,” Kellen frowned, grabbing Kipp’s keys and unlocking the door to Kipp’s place, “That poor guy has to be there after what that evil, evil woman did to him.”

“I know, I can only imagine how he is feeling right now,” Kipp replied, taking in a deep breath, “So, about you and Kyle. What happened there?”

“It was really nothing,” Kellen assured him thinking back to when he had first met Kyle, “He was at the gym, working out with Jade and I remembered Jade said she was going to bring her gay friend in for me to meet him.”

“So when you saw Kyle, you thought it was that guy right?” Kipp questioned seeing Kellen nod slowly. “Easy mistake. Go on.”

“Yeah,” Kellen nodded before thinking back to what had happened between him and Kyle, “Well I was hitting on him you know and I didn’t realize he was a little uncomfortable. I guess you could say I kind of squeezed his um…butt and he almost dropped the weight on his foot. That’s when I could tell he wasn’t gay.”

“I would assume that,” Kipp nodded slowly, smiling widely, “When did that happen?”

“A long time ago,” Kellen assured him before shaking his head slowly, “It was really nothing. Kyle is obviously not like that, nor will he ever be. Let’s just get off that subject.”

“Alright,” Kipp shrugged, taking in a deep breath, “The check up went good right?”

“Yep,” Kellen agreed, hearing a knock on the door, “Here, I will take Charles back to the room to put him to sleep while you get that.”

“Okay,” Kipp smiled, walking towards the door and opening it. He shook his head in surprise at who he saw before him, “Heather, what the hell are you doing here?”

“Did you really think that I was going to just let you take Charles away from me like that?” Heather questioned, folding her arms out in front of her chest. “There is no way in hell that is going to happen.”

“Heather, you really don’t know what’s going on do you?” Kipp questioned angrily, throwing his hands up in the air, “This isn’t a competition between me and you. This is about a child who needs to have someone take care of him. Not win him. This is no game.”

“I demand that you let me see Charles,” Heather growled, taking a step forwards before hearing someone else yell out from behind Kipp.

“That’s it bitch,” Kellen hissed taking a few steps forward, “I really am tired of you doing this to Kipp. He doesn’t want you back and he doesn’t want anything to do with you.”

“Who are you?” Heather pushed the door open to see Kellen who had also approached the door.

They both gasped at the sight of each other. Kipp arched his eyebrow in curiosity as he saw the way they reacted when they saw each other. They knew each other--obviously, but from where?



...to be continued...