Episode 232

Dave put his keys back in his pocket after entering his house. He smiled hearing the sounds of giggling and laughing coming from his living room.

“I’m home,” Dave called out as he walked into the room to see Kayla drawing with Cori and Carly was on the couch watching television. Okay, seeing Cori here playing with Kayla was unexpected, but it was a nice surprise.

“Hello Davey,” Cori smiled, turning around to face her brother as Kayla got up from the table to run towards him.

“We have been having so much fun,” Kayla laughed, pulling Dave towards the table where Cori and her had been drawing for quite a while, “We colored together and we had so much fun. We colored a doggie, a kitten, a penguin, and a mouse.”

“And an elephant,” Cori pointed out with a small nod towards Kayla, “Don’t forget to show him that one too. That was one of our biggest master pieces.”

“Oh yeah,” Kayla nodded, handing all the pictures to Dave as she watched him look through them, “What do you think? We worked really hard on all of them together.”

“We were coloring for a long time Davey,” Cori informed him with a small smirk, standing up from the table, “In fact, I don’t think I can feel my hand anymore.”

“Me neither,” Kayla squeaked with a small laugh as Carly approached them.

“Kayla, honey,” Carly bent down with a smile spread across her features, “How about we go out to the park and let’s go get some ice-cream. How does that sound?”

“I like that idea,” Kayla giggled, walking towards the door with Carly, “Bye-bye Cori.”

“Bye Kayla,” Cori waved, as Kayla walked out the door, “Dave, what in the world have you gotten yourself into now?”

“What do you mean by that?” Dave questioned, seeing her shrug and ponder the question.

“I mean, with the little girl and Carly,” she replied, raising one of her eyebrows in interest, “What is this all about Dave? What have you gotten yourself into here?”

“Cori,” Dave sighed, trying to find someway to explain this whole thing to Cori without her freaking out, “Cori I know I should tell you straight up what‘s going on. So, I guess there is not other way to say this, but Kayla is my daughter Cori.”

“Oh, I heard that one already from Kayla,” Cori nodded slowly, letting her arms fall to her side as she shrugged, “Gee, it was real thoughtful of Carly to tell you about her now.”

“Well, you would do the same thing if you were in the same position that she was in,” Dave protested, shrugging his shoulders, “I mean really Cori. You would act the same way.”

“No, I really wouldn’t,” Cori declared, biting down on her bottom lip, “If I was pregnant, I would want the father of my baby to know before I had this baby. Not three years later after she was already born and the whole works.”

“You don’t understand,” Dave tried to protested once more before Cori cut him off angrily.

“You’re right Dave, I don’t really understand,” Cori agreed, folding her arms out in front of her with curiousness building up behind her, “Why don’t you help me understand Dave?”


“You have to be kidding me,” Kyle smirked after hearing the passage that Sarah had read to him from a magazine just now, “People are crazy these days. I don’t even know why someone would want to do that.”

“I don’t know why either,” Sarah shrugged, reading further into the article, “It says that the guy wants to do it and beat all the other records.”

“Right, is that before or after he dies?” Kyle lightly chuckled before seeing Sarah nod slowly. His attention was taken towards the door as someone entered his room--someone he never expected to see that is. “Uh, hi.”

“What are you doing here?” Sarah questioned with a hint of confusion after turning around to come face to face with Heather who smirked at the sight of them.

“Well, I just came to see how Kyle was doing in this place,” Heather stated with a small smile, shrugging her shoulders as she closed the door behind herself, “I am back in Coral Valley and I figured I would come and show the perfect work that was done to me. I thought I would come and show it to the two most important people in this town.”

“Uh huh, is that right?” Kyle nodded slowly, arching his eyebrows in curiosity as he looked up at her, “So who were the two you went to see before us?”

“Stop playing like that Kyle,” Heather grinned, taking a step forward and bending down to kiss Kyle’s cheek gently, “I got you a present once I heard that you were here. I know you hate these places, so I tried to get you something. Something that would get your mind off all this nonsense.”

“What is it?” Kyle wondered as she handed him a gift bag and he took it slowly from her.

“A present,” she answered with a small smile as he rolled her eyes at her comment, “Go ahead. Open it.”

“It’s not going to bite me, is it?” Kyle questioned with a small frown, hearing her laugh once more at his comment.

“You kid too much Kyle,” Heather chuckled as he opened the bag and took a look inside of it cautiously.

“I wasn’t kidding. After that time you gave me that present on my sixteenth birthday--I always have to wonder,” Kyle replied, pulling a book out of the bag. It was a romance novel by some woman named Donna Nevik. He had heard of her before, but only because Sarah liked the stories so much. Well actually, he heard the name from almost every woman he knows. It was like that woman was the god in writing romance novels when you would ask women about her. “What am I going to do with this?”

“Read it, duh,” Heather shook her head slowly before squeezing Kyle’s shoulder gently as he looked at the back of the book, reading through the passage, “So, how are you feeling?”

“I’m doing better,” Kyle assured her as he looked up from the book, letting out a small smile as she looked at him, “Not the best, but I’m hanging in there.”

“You know, I never liked that Susan,” Heather sighed in deeply as she thought back to all the times she had been around Susan, “That girl was so shady and she never had a straight mind going into things. I hope that they slam the book at her for what she did. Especially for what she did to you.”

“I hope so,” Kyle breathed in deeply before shrugging his shoulders, “Who knows though? They could never find her and we will never see her face again in Coral Valley.”

“I highly doubt that is Susan’s game around this point,” Heather pointed out as Sarah watched from the back of the room, wondering why Heather was acting like this towards Kyle, “Trust me, I know what a witch that woman was around people. I was married to Cameron Stone after all.”

“That’s right,” Kyle nodded slowly, rubbing his chin as he thought for a second, “Do you think Cameron would be helping her hide? I mean, did they have a close relationship?”

“Well, kind of,” Heather shrugged, thinking over his question for a minute as Kyle waited for an answer from her, “I highly doubt that Cameron would put himself at risk for her though. He isn’t that kind of guy. He might of helped her a little bit, but he wouldn’t be helping her step by step.”

“Is that right?” Kyle questioned, seeing Heather nod slowly as he pondered her answer. There was a thought in his mind that yes, Cameron could of helped her, but there was another thought in his mind that Cameron really wasn’t that dumb to make a decision like that, “Thanks Heather.”

“Yeah, no problem,” Heather assured him, grabbing onto his hand lightly, to squeeze it in hers before letting go of it, “If you need to know anything else, I’ll let you know what I know. I’d do anything for you.”

“I appreciate that,” Kyle smirked, looking back towards Sarah who just seemed to be looking at Heather like she was a target. It was obvious that Sarah thought Heather was full of it as Heather went on talking. But maybe Heather really was here to check on him, it was very possible.


“Trisha?” Hunt questioned, opening the door to Trisha’s hospital room with a smile on his face as he saw her there laying before him. “Hey, I’m…”

“Hunt,” Trisha finished with a small smile as he smirked and took a cautious step into the room, “I know who you are, I wouldn’t have forgotten. Come in.”

“Hey,” Mindy smiled, walking into the room with Hunt and she closed the door behind the two of them, “How are you feeling today? Any better?”

“Oh, I’m doing good,” Trisha sighed, sitting up straighter in her bed, “I was hoping I would be seeing you two soon. I wanted to say thank you.”

“Well, we really didn’t do anything,” Mindy pointed out with a small frown as she saw Trisha shake her head slowly.

“You’re wrong,” Trisha protested with a small sigh, thinking back to the horrible moment, “If you two didn’t help me there, I would have been caught by Ray and I would probably be dead by now. And for that, I thank you.”

“It was off of instinct,” Hunt shrugged, sliding his hands in his pockets, “You know we couldn’t just leave you there. We were worried that you were going to be really hurt if we didn’t take you soon. You had us all scared to death.”

“I didn’t mean to scare you,” Trisha frowned, folding her hands in her lap, “I just didn’t know what to do. Ray was chasing me and I just couldn’t stop to think.”

“We totally understand,” Mindy began, taking in a deep breath, “I don’t know what I would have done if I was in your position. I don’t think that I would have gotten away, so I can tell you are quite the ultimate warrior.”

“Well,” Trisha lightly laughed, shrugging his shoulders, “When it comes down to it, I think everyone in my position would have done the same thing, just some people wouldn’t have been lucky enough to have you two.”

“We're glad we were there Trisha,” Hunt insisted, reaching out to squeeze her shoulders gently, “I wouldn’t have wanted him to get any closer. I’m just glad we were there.”


Guy walked into his mother’s hospital room seeing her seated on the bed before him with a vast arrangement of fashion magazines on her lap. Upon hearing his entrance she looked up to see him and a smile spread over her features.

“Darling, I was wondering when you would get here,” she motioned to the things on her bed, “I was just checking out our latest ad campaign and it’s brilliant--absolutely brilliant.”

“I was hoping that you’d like it mum,” he replied leaning in to kiss her on the cheek, “I gave the okay to run it, but I wasn’t sure you’d enjoy it.”

“I think it truly is remarkable. You have an eye for things like this Guy. I’m so very proud of you,” Brooke beamed enthusiastically, “and when we are able to get things back on track again, I’d like to see you making more of the executive decisions. I have no doubt that this latest campaign will be a hit.”

“I’m hoping so,” Guy replied with a smile, “which reminds me, how are things moving along in here?”

“Not as well as I would like,” she motioned to her legs as a sigh spilled over her lips, “but after speaking with my doctors well I’ve finally twisted their arms enough to get myself out of here sooner than I expected. They are finally letting me go back home.”

“Really?” Guy’s eyes widened, “Well that is good news as long as you’re not pushing yourself too hard, too fast.”

“Oh of course not. They were a little hesitant to agree to my release, but when it got down to it, as the doctors said, I’m the one who can truly judge how I’m doing,” Brooke continued enthusiastically, “So when I get back to the mansion they’ll be setting me up with a special chair and…”

“Whoa wait a second,” Guy blinked back at her, “Um, mum, you aren’t going back to the mansion.”

“What do you mean?” she questioned tilting her head up to look at him.

“I thought you knew already. Avery said that she didn’t want you there. Things have been going on with Bruce lately and she said that it would be best if you weren’t an open target for him at the mansion,” Guy continued to rehash his sister’s words over the situation.

“No that can’t be right,” Brooke shook her head at his words, “Avery wouldn’t say that. She couldn’t say that.”

“I’m sorry mum, but in this instance I have to agree with her. That place is nothing but a trap for you considering,” Guy reached for her hand offering up a small squeeze. “You’ll be better off somewhere else. Trust me on that.”

“No, I won’t be,” Brooke argued with him, “I should be back at that mansion with your sister and…”

“Mum calm down,” Guy tried to suggest.

“No, I’m not going to calm down. Your sister has no right to do this to me especially not after all I’ve done to get her where she is today. I’m not going to stand for it,” Brooke announced with a huff refusing to let her daughter keep her out of where she belonged more than anything in this world. Avery had no right to shut Brooke out of the Ashford mansion and Brooke wasn’t about to sit back and let that happen to her. Not now. Not ever!


“Avery wait up,” Brant chased after his wife knowing full well that they would have a lot of talking to do later now that they were both on bad terms with one another. When he’d blown up, it was Grady he was upset with--Grady that he’d wanted to strangle, yet he’d taken it out on Avery. He’d lashed out at her like she’d done something wrong, but in all honesty he was the one who had gotten all worked up over the situation. Yes, she should’ve tried to reach him, which a check of his voice mail indicated that she had, but at the same time he knew how protective she was over her friends. He just didn’t like that this friend in particular was your example of most women’s fantasy man with issues up the wazoo. “Avery come on!”

“Just save it Brant,” she stopped a few feet outside of Ken’s hospital room door, “I don’t want to fight anymore. I’m not in the mood.”

“Neither am I, but for what it’s worth I’m sorry,” he apologized with a small breath.

“Sorry that you said what you did or sorry that I’m upset with you?” she challenged with a skeptical look before turning away, “Yeah that’s what I thought.”

“Avery wait,” Brant reached out to her again catching her arm before she could walk away, “Please. I don’t want to fight with you. I hate us being like this.”

“Then you should’ve thought about that before you opened your mouth to yell at me for being there for Grady. He was upset and he’s my friend. I didn’t want to abandon him when he was hurting,” Avery informed him point blank, “and I would hope that if the roles were reversed you would do the same thing especially if Don or Hart needed you.”

“Don and Hart aren’t Grady. I mean if you were with Jenna last night, then I would totally understand. I couldn’t get upset over that, but with Grady,” he sighed inwardly, “Avery, I just don’t trust him where you’re involved. Time after time again he’s caused you grief. He’s taken you on this emotional roller coaster and now that he’s going through one of his own, I’m just afraid of where he’ll lead you. I don’t want to see you hurt in all of this.”

“I’m not going to be hurt as long as you stop accusing me of things that I’m not doing,” Avery reached out to squeeze his hand in hers, “Brant, I love you. I want to be with you. The way I see it, there’s only one man in this world that turns me on and he’s standing right in front of me.”

“Are you sure about that,” he questioned softening his tone a bit as he curled his arms around her waist.

“What do you think?” she asked leaning up on her toes to kiss him. Their lips met gently at first, but then as their kiss continued, the intensity and fire behind her earlier annoyance seemed to bounce off of her into him. He squeezed her in closer to him, his hands dropped down over her bottom as his tongue teased in against hers.

“Oh would you get a room already,” one of the candy stripers groaned passing by until she realized who it was she was cursing out. “Oh Mr. Ashford. I’m terribly sorry…”

“It’s okay,” Brant couldn’t help but laugh watching the young girl shuffle away from them.

“Well, I think you embarrassed the hell out of her today,” Avery couldn’t help but grin herself at the vision before her.

“I think I’m getting good at embarrassing people lately…especially myself when Grady’s around,” he paused fighting to gain control of his emotions, “Avery, I’m sorry.”

“So am I,” she sighed leaning in against his chest, “I promised you last night that I’d go home and I should’ve told you if I’d changed my mind about that. I should’ve made sure that we talked to one another.”

“And I should’ve made sure my stupid phone was charged,” he embraced her again, “I’m sorry I’ve been acting like such a jerk.”

“You’re not a jerk,” she replied catching a doubtful expression from him, “okay, so you are a jerk sometimes, but still…”

“I’ll try to repress that part of my personality a bit if it’ll make you happy,” he promised cupping her face in his hands.

“I just want you to talk to me before you yell at me about things like this,” she paused thinking about the kiss they’d just shared, “Now after that kiss, do you have any doubts about how I feel about you?”

“No, as long as you promise me that you don’t have any doubts about how much you mean to me,” Brant mouthed dipping in to steal another kiss from her once again before he motioned to his brother’s room, “Shall we get in there?”

“I suppose we should,” she sighed bracing herself for their encounter with Ken. While she knew of what Susan had done to him, she couldn’t help but feel a bit uneasy in being here today. Of course she’d promised Brant that she’d be there to support him in his time of concern over Ken, but now she was more nervous about this than she’d imagined.

They walked into the room spotting Ken in his hospital bed looking out the window. He heard their arrival and tilted his head to see them standing before them. He smiled at Brant before his gaze drifted to Avery. Uneasily he looked down seeming to be contemplating his words before looking up again.

“Avery, Brant,” he nodded motioning for them to come in closer, “It’s good to see you today. I didn’t think I‘d be seeing you both.”

“Well, we thought we’d check in on you since you’re family and I said I would,” Brant reminded Ken with a small smile.

“I’m glad to see you here,” Ken’s gaze traveled over to Avery, “both of you.”

“We’re just happy that you’re going to be okay,” Avery offered up in a small voice feeling like she was completely out of place at a time like this. “You gave us all a bit of a scare.”

“I realize that and I’m sorry that I did,” Ken paused looking over at Brant once again. Sensing Avery’s discomfort he spoke up again, “Brant, hey um Barbara was supposed to bring in some pain medication a while ago and I think I really need it. If you wouldn’t mind looking for her…”

“Actually,” Brant exchanged worried glances with Avery.

“I can go get her if you’d like,” Avery suggested with a small breath, “I mean if it’s really a big deal then…”

“I was kind of hoping that Brant could. I mean I haven’t seen you in a while and I think I’d like to have a moment,” Ken hesitated thinking about what he was prepared to say, “If that’s not asking too much.”

“Actually,” Brant began knowing that the last thing Avery would want was to be alone with Ken.

“It’s okay,” Avery sucked in a sharp breath trying to keep things cool and neutral despite the fact that Ken’s wanting to be alone with her had her tied up in knots. She clenched onto her purse hoping that she didn’t come off as being too nervous. “Brant I can stay here if need be.”

“Are you sure,” he questioned searching her eyes.

“Yeah, I’m sure,” she nodded, “Just try not to take too long.”

“Okay,” Brant leaned in to kiss her before looking to Ken, “Be nice to her.”

“I will,” Ken replied watching his brother leave before he turned his attention to Avery, “So…”

“Yeah,” she cleared her throat uneasily not really sure what to say as she looked at him. On one level he’d been her friend most of her life, yet on another, well he’d kind of ripped that friendship apart over the last few months with…

“So I’m probably the last person in the world that you’d want to talk to at a time like this, huh?” Ken fingered the blanket that covered him, “I mean after everything I’m sorry doesn’t seem to cut it, does it?”

“No, it really doesn’t,” Avery replied honestly unable to suppress the feeling still lingering inside of her, “I don’t think it even comes close.”

“I didn’t think it would,” Ken nodded looking down again, “I mean even after I learned what Susan did to me, well I knew deep down that it wouldn’t make a difference. I mean sure I could apologize, but after what I did…”

“Ken, I really don’t want to talk about this,” Avery cut him off abruptly, “I’m not going to lie to you and tell you that I’m ever going to be okay with what happened between us because I’m not. What you did was…”

“Cruel and heartless and a mistake,” he interrupted, tilting his head up to reveal his guilt ridden dark eyes, “Words can’t even begin to express how horrible I feel over what I did. I mean we were friends forever. You and I we really had something special there, but now it’s gone and I have myself to blame.”

“I just don’t understand how you could do it,” Avery confessed painfully, “After everything--after all the years that I was there for you and vice versa, what could drive you to stoop to that new low? I mean okay so I understand that Susan drugged you, but in the back of your mind, didn’t you feel anything? Didn’t you say to yourself that what you were doing was wrong?”

“I tried to tell myself not to go through with it, but when you were there before me crying and hurting…” he brought his hand up through his hair, “Something happened. Avery, I want to say that I didn’t intend to mislead you, but deep down something was happening.”

“Yeah it was called deception Ken. Regardless of what Susan did to you, the fact remains that you deceived me into believing that I was making love to your brother. You willingly and knowingly kept up that lie and led me to believe something that wasn’t there,” Avery shook her head at him, “I know you Ken--at least I thought I did and I guess I always kind of believed on some level the man that I knew and cared about would always find a way to pull himself out of darkness, but I was wrong. I guess I learned the hard way just what our friendship meant to you and now, well now I can’t even look at you without thinking about what you did. Even being in the same room with you, it makes me uncomfortable and uneasy.”

“I know and I deserve that. Avery, I know I deserve worse, but for what it’s worth if I could take it back--if I could go back to that moment in time and change things I would. I really truly would stop that from happening and I would’ve tried to find a way to fix the situation. I wouldn’t have hurt you or betrayed your trust. I would’ve found another alternative and now, well now all I can think of is how in hurting you I lost everything I ever loved and I’ll never get that back. I can go through therapy, rehab or anything else, but it doesn’t change the fact that I’m never, ever going to be able to live with the man I’ve become in all of this,” Ken confessed knowing that things were far from changing in his life. Now as he looked to Avery he knew deep down that life would never work out like he’d planned it.


Grady entered the newspaper offices his mind buzzing with worries after his confrontation with Brant. While he really didn’t want to face the fact that there was a chance that Bruce could’ve taken Jade, he knew full well he couldn’t exactly discard that thought either. Now after he’d pondered the possibility, he had to be sure. What little he knew about Bruce came from dealing with Avery and that wasn’t very reassuring. Now that he was in the newspaper offices he wanted to find a way to know what he was up against should Bruce Mathis have been the one who had taken Jade.

“Grady, good to see you,” Chris waved walking out of his office to see the new arrival, “What brings you down here?”

“I need a favor,” Grady admitted taking in a breath, “You said before that you were the man if I needed to find something and well, I’ve come to see your talents put to the test.”

“In that case, step into my office,” Chris motioned for Grady to follow him into his office. Grady looked around seeing that things were still scattered around the place, yet it wasn’t the disarray that captured his attention. He looked up on the wall to see some kind of tribal mask before him that was strangely fascinating. He looked over to Chris while pointing at it, “You into antique cultures or something?”

“Or something,” Chris replied with a small smile, “That little gem in particular is something I picked up on a very special weekend with a beautiful woman I will never forget. It was one of those things that a man never truly loses with his years.”

“Ah, so she was pretty special, eh?” Grady eyed him curiously.

“That she was and the only shame was that things didn’t find a way to work out in the end for us. Still she was one woman that I’d never in the world find a way to forget. She just had this spark about her,” Chris held his hands out in front of him making this movement like he was reaching out for something, “Sensational I tell you.”

“Yeah, well that’s kind of why I’m here today,” Grady replied bringing his hands into his jeans pocket. “You see I have someone pretty sensational in my life as well and right now things have happened--a situation has arisen that…”

“You mean with Jade Alexander?” Chris noted with a curious expression. He saw Grady’s surprise before he added, “Before you ask I’m in the news business remember? I‘m supposed to be one up on these things.”

“Yeah well you’d think after everything that’s happened I would follow that same guideline, but unfortunately fate hasn’t been too kind to me lately which is why I’ve come here today to ask a favor,” Grady explained further, “You see I need to know everything there is about a man named Bruce Mathis.”

“You mean the lunatic psycho killer running around town?” Chris’s eyes widened with obvious interest.

Grady nodded, “That would be the one. I want to know all that you have on him here.”

“Can I ask if this interest runs personal or professional?” Chris prompted further curiosity brewing over him.

“Let’s just say that I’m not sure what I’m going to find here, but I need a few questions answered. Do you think you can help me with that?” Grady asked again watching Chris nod.

“Consider it done. Anything I have here is all access for you as long as you clue me in on the big scoop once you find it,” Chris decided with a smile.

“It’s yours when I find it,” Grady promised hoping that Brant was wrong. He just prayed that he wouldn’t lost Jade forever because that would truly be the death of him.


“Alright,” Ben smiled, walking behind Diane as his hands covered her eyes gently while she tried to peak though, “Just a few more steps and then you can see.”

“Alright, but can you please hurry up Ben?” Diane eagerly questioned, hearing Ben laugh in the background at her eagerness. “Are we there yet?”

“No,” Ben answered with a small laugh knowing that he was lying to her before removing his hands away from her eyes so that she could finally see, “We’re here now.”

“Oh Ben,” Diane gasped, getting a look at the house before reaching into her pocket for the key that Ben had given her for a present, “Let’s go inside.”

“Go ahead,” he motioned her to go on with a small smirk, “You pave the way and I will follow.”

“Okay, come on,” Diane opened the front door quickly before taking a step inside, “I already love it.”

“Really?” Ben questioned, shutting the door behind them as he saw her nod. “I know it isn’t the biggest, but at least it’s nice. I mean it could have been better.”

“No, I really do love it Ben,” Diane assured him as she hugged him in her arms tightly, “I love it a lot. I don’t care how big or small it is--it’s beautiful.”

“You haven’t even seen the whole house yet,” he chuckled as she let go of him, “The upstairs could be horrible and you would change your whole mind.”

“I highly doubt that I would hate a thing about this house,” she rolled her eyes before looking up the stairs, “Speaking of upstairs, let’s look at that part first.”

“If you insist upon doing that,” he shrugged, following her up the stairs as she went into the first room on the right. “This room right here would be ours.”

“It’s wonderful,” Diane replied, looking around the room and in the closets, “I can’t believe how nice this really is--and you said it was going to be bad.”

“Well, if you will follow me into the next room,” he began, taking a step into the hallway as she followed him eagerly, “You can have an even better opinion when you see this. This my darling, would be the baby’s room.”

“Ben, it’s absolutely perfect,” Diane took a step into the room, looking around this one. Something about it just took her breath away, “It’s the perfect size and the perfect color.”

“Well, I went with the yellow because whether or not it’s a boy or a girl,” Ben began to explain with why he chose the color, thinking back when he had a hard time trying to chose, “Yellow is neutral when it comes to that.”

“You made a good decision,” Diane insisted, going over to Ben to kiss him quickly, “I don’t think you realize how important this is to me Ben. You’ve made my dreams come true.”

“Well, let’s see how many more dreams you can find in the house,” Ben suggested, walking towards the dream, “Because this house is either going to be a dream for you or a complete nightmare. So let’s look around a little bit more.”

“I already love it Ben, but if you insist,” she shrugged before following him back down the stairs. This was all going so perfectly with Ben. Everything was going great when it came down to it. This was her dream and it was finally coming true.


“Thanks for the ice-cream mommy,” Kayla smiled up at Carly as she grabbed a hold of her mother’s hand, “I really liked it.”

“I’m glad sweetheart,” Carly held tightly onto her daughter’s hand as they walked through the park slowly, “So, what do you want to play on first?”

“Wow,” Kayla laughed as a ball landed to her and she picked it up slowly as another little girl came walking over towards them, “Is this yours?”

“Yeah,” the other little girl nodded before taking the ball back, “I’m Brittany, do you want to play?”

“Can, I mommy?” Kayla questioned as a man approached all of them. “Please say I can.”

“Brittany, sweetheart,” Gabe sighed, bending down towards his daughter, “You should watch where you through the ball. You might have hit someone with that.”

“She was fine,” Carly assured him, feeling Kayla pull on her hand lightly, “Yes sweetheart you can go play with Brittany if--that’s okay with you.”

“It’s perfectly fine,” Gabe nodded as he saw his daughter run towards the playground with Kayla, “Hi, I am Gabe Teague--Brittany’s father.”

“I’m Carly Matthews,” Carly introduced herself, shaking Gabe’s hand lightly in her, “It’s really nice to meet you. You have a beautiful child by the way.”

“Thank you, you do too,” Gabe pointed out with a small smile before thinking for a second, “I didn’t catch your daughter’s name, or maybe she didn’t say it.”

“It’s Kayla,” she answered as he motioned her to follow him and sit down on the bench right next to them, “You and your daughter look very happy together.”

“Oh, thank you,” Gabe smirked before letting out a deep sigh, “I guess you could say I am just trying to spend as much time with her as possible.”

“What do you mean by that?” Carly wondered with a slight frown, seeing the expression behind his features after that comment. “Is she sick or something?”

“Thank god no,” Gabe answered, shaking his head slowly, “It’s kind of complicated, but to make it short--her mother is trying to take her away from me.”

“That’s awful,” Carly gasped, shaking her head, “I don’t understand how someone could be so evil like that. You seem to be perfect with your daughter.”

“Well, prove that to her,” Gabe pinched the bridge of his nose before letting out another deep sigh, “I just guess her mother wants to take the best thing out of my life.”

“You know what? I have something I think you could use,” Carly snapped her fingers, opening her purse and searching through it, “I have a list of number that you can call if you need help. I am a lawyer myself and I would hate to see you lose this case.”

“Thank you,” Gabe smiled as she handed him the sheet, “I really appreciate this. It’s not everyday that you find someone who really cares about this kind of a thing.”

“Cares?” Carly questioned with a frown, shaking her head slowly, “I more than care. If someone tried to take Kayla away from me, I would be beyond upset. I don’t think I would be as calm as you are right now. I would be going out of my mind.”

“Which means you are a good parent,” Gabe pointed out with a small smile, “That’s nice to see these days.”

“Tell me about it,” Carly exhaled before pointing towards the sheet in Gabe’s hand, “the bottom number right there is my number. So, you can call anytime if you need help with anything at all.”

“Thank you,” Gabe grinned, looking on towards the playground where Kayla and Brittany were playing, “It sure looks like they are having fun, doesn’t it?”

“Yeah, it kind of does,” Carly agreed with a small smirk, seeing her daughter playing with her new friend, “It really does.”


“This is just ridiculous,” Brooke argued with her son, “I can’t see why Avery would even want to think about doing something so preposterous there. I most certainly belong at the mansion with her.”

“Mother, you need to relax. You can’t get upset like this considering that…” Guy reached out to try to calm her down, but instead he found himself being pushed away.

“No Guy, I’m not going to relax. What your sister is doing is completely and totally horrible especially considering that…” Brooke began with a huff ready to lay into him over Avery’s obvious selfishness in wanting to shut Brooke out of the life that should be hers.

“Mum please…” Guy began again only to hear the sound of footsteps approaching from behind.

“I thought I heard a noise in here,” Mindy’s voice piped in as she looked between Guy and his mother, “I was hoping to come in and see how things are going.”

“Things are going fine,” Guy replied with a tense expression.

“Things are most certainly not fine,” Brooke argued with him, her anger growing by the minute. “Things are far from being fine and if you’d stop defending your sister, then…”

“It sounds like there’s some kind of problem in here,” Hunt added walking into the room and looking right square at Brooke. His eyes darted over in her general direction before looking to Mindy again, “Is everything okay?”

“Everything is fine. I think,” Mindy looked to Guy once more, “right?”

“Well I…” Guy began uneasily.

“Actually Hunt, things aren’t okay,” Mindy turned to Hunt knowing that they’d had a long night after everything that had happened with Trisha Merhan. She eyed her friend sympathetically before turning to Hunt again, “Guy and I were just about to go down and get him a coffee. I know that you and I were on our way out, but I was really hoping to get a minute with Guy--you know to fill him in on things.”

“Yeah, sure,” Hunt nodded sensing Mindy’s need to give Guy some room from his mother’s obvious fit. Guy opened his mouth to protest, but clearly thought twice of it when he turned to his mother.

“I’ll be back in a few minutes,” Guy promised walking out into the hall with Mindy.

A few minutes after they left, Hunt closed the door behind them and turned to Brooke with a disapproving look, “What do you think you’re doing?”

“I could ask you the same thing considering that you’ve been ignoring my calls,” Brooke scowled up at him, “but obviously in seeing you with that twit it doesn’t take much to figure it out. Here I am all trapped in this bed and…”

“And nothing,” Hunt shook his head at her, “Brooke, it’s unfortunate what has happened to you, but you don’t have to be a bitter, miserable person because of it. If anything you should be happy to be alive--happy that you are still a part of this world. That in itself should keep you thinking of positive reasons to be grateful for the second chances you’ve been given.”

“And what a second chance it’s been. You’ve been ignoring me and the rest of the world sees me as an invalid,” she threw her hands up in the air with heavy emphasis, “What’s left for me?”

“There are a lot of things left for you, but you’re too blinded by your misfortunes to see them. Brooke, you shouldn’t waste your time complaining about what you can’t change and think of what you can,” he sighed hating to see her so upset.

“Well look at you,” Brooke quipped in a mocking tone, “Here you are acting as if you’re in a position to give advice to me. After all I’ve done for you, I’ve come to expect a bit more out of you than watching you gallivant around with my son’s ex-girlfriend.”

“Brooke, look I appreciate everything you’ve done for me, but I really think…” Hunt began uneasily.

“I don’t give you all those gifts to think. I give you all of those special favors simply because of my appreciation for your many talents,” she licked her lips looking him up and down appreciatively, “and while things might not be as they were before, I’m sure in time we’ll find a way to conduct some kind of arrangement between us…”

“Brooke, I really don’t think that…” Hunt started once more.

“As I said before Hunt, from where I’m at, I see all the reasons why you should be very appreciative of me and my favors for you. Given that you’re a relatively new citizen of Coral Valley I would hate to have your image tarnished by a few misguiding phone calls,” she sighed with heavy emphasis.

“Was that some kind of threat?” his eyes widened in response.

“No, it was merely a suggestion,” she raised her hand to inspect her perfectly sculpted nails, “The way I see it, you need to get rid of that girl if you intend to be a man and have a career. If you should choose to keep spending time with her, well it may wind up costing you with say…perhaps your career and you wouldn’t want that, now would you? Because I know I would surely hate to see you throw it away for a little piece of trash that isn’t nearly up to your standard there. Wouldn‘t you agree your career would be a terrible thing to waste on nothing more than what could only be merely explained as an infatuation?”

“I don’t think you understand Brooke,” Hunt’s face darkened at her suggestion.

“No I don’t think you’re the one who truly understands, but perhaps it’s time that we got things clear between us once and for all,” she finished with a menacing glare, “Wouldn’t you agree, Hunt?”


“Avery I’m sorry,” Ken sighed heavily his thoughts hanging over him as regret filled his insides. “As cheap and as hollow as that sounds, it’s the truth. You deserved far better than what I did to you and I wish that there was some way that I could make it up to you.”

“Ken,” she started feeling her uneasiness transform into something else--something she couldn’t quite put her finger on as she looked to him.

“I know it’s no consolation, but I’m going to get help. I’m going to check into rehab…or rather I should just call it what it is. I’m going to go in for some therapy and get my head together. I know that I screwed up. I know that words can’t even begin to express how horrible I’ve been, but I want to fix this. I want to change my life somehow so that I can try to make it up to all those I let down,” Ken revealed tilting his head to look over at her, “I’m not sure what the drug Susan gave me will do to me down the road, but after nearly losing it all, it kind of put life into perspective for me. There was no excuse for any of what I was letting happen--even if Susan played a hand in all of it. I hate the man that I’ve become. I hate knowing that I’ve let so many people down and I’m terrified that there will never be a way for me to rectify the situation. Time and time again I’ve tried to think of something I can do--something I can say to stop making the world around me hurt, but all it winds up coming out as is my being selfish when it gets down to it. It sounds like I’m making this all about me, but it’s really not Avery…”

“Ken, I never said that,” she started to sigh.

“I realize that, but you didn’t have to. I mean really there is no reason in this world why you should forgive me--why anyone should put any kind of faith in me after this,” he met her sad brown eyes, “Avery, for a long time you and I were competitive pals. We pushed each other to excel and be great. Time and time again we shared things that not many other people can say that they did and when I think of how I threw that all away in a moment of blind stupidity…”

“It wasn’t all your fault,” Avery blurted out surprising herself as she thought to the guilt she saw in Ken’s face. While she’d hated the bastard he’d become, there was something about seeing him in such a tentative state that had her really, truly concerned about him. “You can’t hold all of the responsibility because I know what Susan did. I saw what she did to Kyle and I can’t blame you for something that woman has done.”

“Yes, but…” Ken opened his mouth to speak again.

“From what everyone is telling us there could be lasting effects. It could be like an addiction and given the levels in your blood, I’m amazed that you could be walking around--let around manipulating me into something ugly,” she hesitated shifting on her feet uneasily, “I know I wasn’t the only one that you hurt Ken, but right now I can see that when it gets down to it, you’re the one who has suffered the most.”

“I just hope that one day you’ll find a way to forgive me--to forgive what happened and…” Ken stopped himself unable to finish his sentence as tears overtook him. He looked away, “I fought like hell to stay away from this--to not give into the family curse, but with one push from Susan, I become the monster I’ve always loathed.”

“No, Ken you’re not a monster,” Avery took a step towards him, “In your own way you were every bit as much a victim as I was the night that we…”

“It’s no excuse. You said that yourself…” he kept his eyes closed feeling the last few months come back to haunt him.

“Maybe not, but if you’re willing to try to help yourself--if you’re willing to find a way to get back that missing piece of your life that you want to reclaim the man you once were…” she offered up softening her voice a bit.

“I want that Avery. More than anything I want to find him again,” Ken confessed biting back on his tears.

“Then perhaps one day you will and when that time comes,” Avery reached out to touch his hand lightly, “Maybe we can work on forgiveness together.”

“Are you saying that…” he tilted his head to look at her--to see the sad smile that now touched over the corners of her mouth.

“I can’t promise you anything, but Ken, if you really want to save yourself, then I want that for you. I want you to be able to look at yourself again with self-respect and love. That’s really, truly all I could ever hope for with you,” she continued hating what Susan had put upon everyone.

“I…I don’t know what to say…” he replied eyeing her hand over his.

“Tell me that you mean what you’re telling me about wanting to change and I’ll do whatever I can to help you,” Avery promised with a sympathetic expression, “and who knows? Maybe one day we can be friends again. Maybe one day down the road we’ll start over again.”

“I’d like that,” Ken admitted squeezing her hand in response as Brant stood in the doorway watching the exchange between his wife and his brother. It was the last thing in the world that he’d ever anticipated walking in on, yet in it’s own way it only redefined all the reasons why Brant had fallen in love with Avery. Her heart was filled with a warmth and a tenderness that was rare in the world. Here she was with Ken--someone who had torn her world apart, yet she was reaching out to him in the hopes of helping him find his way again. In that moment of silent contemplation, Brant realized that he’d never loved her more than he did right now as she tried to be supportive of his brother’s fight to reclaim his life.


“It’s easy to explain,” Dave pointed out after seeing his sister stand there looking at him as if he was being dumb, “Carly was away and she couldn’t just up and leave her life.”

“Dave, are you really this dumb or is this just some act?” Cori questioned with a hint of sarcasm behind her voice seeing Dave roll his eyes at her comment. “I’m being serious here Dave. What are all your plans with this whole thing?”

“I plan to be with Carly,” Dave retorted, taking a step backwards, “For once I just wish you could be happy for me--happy that I am starting a life for the better.”

“Dave, I would be happy for you,” Cori began, taking in a deep breath, “If I didn’t have my doubts. I mean really Dave, she hasn’t told you about this until now. What makes you think that Carly isn’t lying to you? Kayla couldn’t even be yours.”

“I don’t care,” Dave snorted, turning away from her, “Why don’t you just drop the whole subject all together because they are staying here with me and that’s final.”

“Dave, I understand that you don’t want to hear this,” Cori took in a deep breath, folding her arms out in front of her chest, “But I am just worried about you okay. I just remember that the first time she left you, you were so hurt and I don’t want to ever see you like that again. You’re my big brother and I don’t like seeing you feel like that.”

“What you just said to me is enough for you to just let this go,” Dave snapped, throwing his hands up in the air, “I am the big brother. Which means, you’re younger than me and you don’t have to worry Cori.”

“You know, I was just trying to be a good sister here,” Cori pointed out, shaking her head slowly, “Can you not see that because you are sure acting like a jerk right now. Is it so bad that I don’t want to see you hurt? If it is, please tell me because I would like to know.”

“I understand that you don’t want to see me hurt,” Dave nodded slowly, trying to sound a little bit more understanding, “The thing is, I am happy with Carly. I want to be with her Cori, so I just think you need to deal with that. So, I am begging you Cori--just give Carly some slack.”

“Fine, I’ll do it for you,” Cori sunk in before throwing her hands up in the air, “But next time that I am dating someone in the future, I want the same respect.”

“I promise,” Dave smiled, giving her a quick hug, “I won’t treat him bad at all. I swear.”

“Good,” Cori sighed, looking down at her watch, “I should probably get going right now.”

“Okay, let me walk you to the door,” Dave grinned, opening the door coming face to face with another woman. “Deidra, what are you doing here?”

“I need to talk to you,” Deidra sighed deeply as Cori appeared from behind the door.

“Gee Dave, just when I thought things couldn’t get any worse,”
Cori began, putting her hands on her waist, “look who else pops up to screw with you even worse.”


“Oh, I’m sorry,” Don frowned, after turning around and running into someone, noticing it was Sarah, “Sarah, hi. How are you feeling?”

“I’m doing good,” Sarah replied with a small smile, “How are you feeling today? Got in any good work around here?”

“Around here?” Don questioned with a small laugh, “I get all the good work I need. The question really is--when do I not get a real good piece of work around here?”

“Good point on that one,” she nodded slowly before looking back down the hallway to where Kyle was in with Heather alone, “So, what have you been up to lately?”

“Nothing really new,” Don shrugged before snapping his fingers and nodding slowly, “Oh, I saw on the charts that Kyle was doing a little better. He might even be lucky enough to go home today if everything goes well.”

“Yeah I know. I’m sure he is really looking forward to that,” Sarah stated, taking in a deep breath, “He like really, really hates hospitals. He never could be in one as long as he has been here. It‘s like his weakness.”

“I totally understand that,” Don nodded slowly, rubbing the back of his neck, “I have to work here and I still hate the hospitals. Probably for people like Kyle, places like these probably make them feel really vulnerable.”

“Yeah, that would be Kyle,” Sarah agreed, folding her arms out in front of her chest, “What about Kenneth Ashford? You are his doctor too, right?”

“Yes, I am,” Don answered, thinking back to how Ken had been feeling, “I believe he is doing pretty good. It’s sad to see those two end up in like this. I know that they are both really good people and to see this happen to them--it’s just horrible.”

“Isn’t that the truth?” Sarah questioned with a small smirk before thinking about something for a second. “I remember hearing that Ken had this for quite a while. It’s a good thing that they got him here when they did.”

“Yeah,” Don agreed before taking in a deep breath, “I guess you could say that Kyle was the luckier one out of the two though, for having you. If Kyle wouldn’t have had you there to help him, I don’t know what would have happened to him. With Ken, I think it took a whole new route than it did with Kyle. With Ken, it changed his whole attitude and the way he was thinking. With Kyle, I guess you could just say it did the same thing, but crazier. It’s a shame that this happened though.”

“Well, we should at least be thankful that they are both here with us still,” Sarah declared, looking down towards the ground, “I just can’t believe the nerve of someone like Susan. They do something so horrible to someone and they still think they are in the right. I just don’t get it.”

“Don’t worry,” Don assured her, reaching out to squeeze her shoulder lightly, “people like that always get what’s coming to them. Susan won’t be let off in regard to this this whole thing. She will get what's coming to her.”

“I hope you’re right Don,” Sarah smiled seeing him nod slowly at her comment before smirking.

“I’m a doctor--of course I‘m right,” Don pointed out with a kidding tone, “I’m just playing with you, I know she will get what’s coming to her. It’s only a matter of time.”


“So really, how are you holding up,” Heather questioned the teasing in her voice transforming to something suddenly serious. She looked to the door again before taking a seat on the edge of Kyle’s hospital bed. Instinctively she reached out to touch his shoulder gently, “I know you’re probably trying to be strong for Sarah, but be straight with me here.”

“Honestly,” Kyle closed his eyes for the briefest of moments before letting out a pinched sigh. “I feel like hell and that doesn’t really even begin to cover it.”

“Somehow I thought that might be what’s going on here,” Heather nodded in response, “and I really meant what I said before. I hate to hear what has happened to you. No one deserves that.”

“No they don’t,” he agreed reopening his eyes to look up at her once again, “and thanks for the novel.”

“Oh please,” she waved her hand at him dismissively, “The present I brought for you sucked, but I thought I should bring something other than a headache.”

“I wasn’t aware that was on the agenda,” Kyle couldn’t help but tease offering up a small laugh before realizing that hurt.

“It wasn’t and it still isn’t, but considering what you’ve been through, well I just needed an excuse to see you without Sarah thinking I was going to start a war,” Heather readily admitted her voice raw with honesty.

“Sarah doesn’t think that about you,” he replied with a sigh.

“Kyle please,” she threw out a pointed look, “Sarah thinks I’m the anti-Christ and in some ways I guess I can’t blame her. She hasn’t exactly seen me in any other light than being the spoiled brat.”

“Wasn’t that what you were going for when you were looking for some kind of context to hold yourself in?” Kyle questioned with a hint of teasing in his voice.

“Do you really think that I’m that shallow and heartless that I wouldn’t care about someone? That I’m so one-dimensional that I would just come over here today to make a mockery of what you’re going through,” a wounded expression swept over her features.

“No, Heather that’s not what I was saying, but given what you and Sarah have been going through over the years…” he began again.

“Sarah doesn’t know the half of what I’ve been through in my life and she probably won’t even know it either,” Heather shrugged her shoulders before looking down at him, “but this isn’t about Sarah or about me. This is about your getting better again. I hate to think what happened to you. I know first hand what it’s like to have someone take advantage of you like that and it’s the most horrible, disgusting, shame filled experience. I know how you must be feeling right now second guessing yourself--wondering how you could’ve changed the outcome of the situation so that this never happened, but you can’t go back Kyle. You can only try to erase what that witch has done to you and move forward…”

“Sounds like you’re speaking from experience,” Kyle noted his eyes fixed upon her, “Heather, what aren’t you telling me?”

“Stories that you aren’t really ready to hear,” she waved her hand in front of her face dismissively, “It’s nothing.”

“Tell me,” Kyle reached out to capture her wrist in his hand. The intensity of his gaze over her convinced her that he wasn’t about to let up on the conversation.

“I don’t even know where to begin,” Heather replied lowering her head a bit, “It’s not exactly the bright spot in anyone’s life when they have their control taken away from them.”

“Heather…” he spoke her name in a warning tone. He had so many questions to ask, but as he saw the look on her face, he knew part of the answer. “When?”

“When I was pregnant with Charles,” she explained in a small voice, her whole body shivering at the memory, “I was fighting with Cameron and one thing lead to another. I wasn’t happy with him about something--I can’t even tell you what now, but it got ugly…”

“How ugly?” Kyle asked tightly.

“Very ugly,” Heather replied meeting his concerned gaze, “I asked him to stop, but apparently he wasn’t interested in hearing it.”

“Heather, why didn’t you say something?” Kyle’s jaw practically dropped, “Why didn’t you tell me?”

“So you’d do what? Go and beat him up for hurting me?” she shook her head at him, “Kyle that wasn’t an answer. Besides I knew no matter what I said Cameron wasn’t going to see any kind of repercussions for his actions. He was able to get away with murder, or so I thought, so I figured why would anyone want to listen to me?”

“I’m listening to you,” he reached out to squeeze her hand supportively, “and I’m sure others would’ve as well.”

“I highly doubt it,” Heather bit back on her tears before forcing a fake smile, “Besides it’s in the past. It’s done and over with and truth be told Cameron’s not the first guy to get all bent out of shape when I said no. It’s just something that happens I guess…”

“No Heather,” Kyle shook his head, his anger bubbling inside of him, “the fact to the matter is that no means no regardless of who is saying it.”

“I suppose,” she shrugged her shoulders before forcing her head up high, “but hey as I said before the past is the past. You can’t focus on the things that have happened. You just have to keep pushing on and hope that tomorrow is better than today.”

“You still should’ve said something,” he kept a hold on her hand, his fingers massaging over the top of her palm in a silent support.

“With me I just didn’t want to come off as someone playing the victim. I didn’t want to broadcast it over the world that I was weak. I mean Heather Gibbons is a great many things, but weak, well weak isn’t one of them…” she shook her head refusing to go down that road again.

“Maybe not, but Heather Marx has a heart and a soul inside of her that people very seldom see,” Kyle interrupted with worry and concern, “She’s someone who likes to live behind the masks and the roles, but when it gets down to it, she’s still that same vulnerable little girl that got left behind when we were children.”

“I never got left behind,” Heather brought her hand up over her face to dab at the tears that threatened, “Remember I was always the one that everyone wanted to be around?”

“I remember,” he nodded with a small sigh, “but I saw beyond the rouse. I saw the little girl who wanted someone to believe in her--who still wants someone to care about who she is on the inside…”

“Yeah, well I learned the hard way that isn’t about to be happening anytime soon. I opened my heart up once and look where it got me,” she shrugged her shoulders before letting out an ironic laugh, “I had it all with Brant, but I was too selfish and too stupid not to hold onto it. He was one of the only people in this world who ever really truly cared about me--well, present company excluded of course.”

“Of course,” he winked at her before his voice grew solemn, “but you know you’re not alone. Even with the ups and downs you have Sarah and Charles and even Diego. I know that you two have a very strange relationship, but I can tell the man cares about you…”

“He’s a psychiatrist. It’s his job to care about the hopeless cases in the world,” she joked lightly, “Besides I think he gave up on that somewhere between now and when I was still in town. I think he saw me for what I really am.”

“If he did, then he wouldn’t be any further from you than I am right now,” Kyle continued thoughtfully, “because the Heather I grew up knowing was a wonderful woman, even if she had an ego the size of Texas.”

“Texas?” she repeated with a tiny chuckle, “I was thinking more along the lines of North America.”

“I was being polite,” Kyle teased again before motioning to her again. “Heather, for what it’s worth, I wish like hell that neither one of us had to ever go through half of what we did in our lives.”

“Hey, they say tragedy builds character, which of course would go without saying that you are one of the most multi-dimensional men that I know,” she laughed lightly, “You’re an amazing man Kyle and Sarah is lucky to have you in her life.”

“I’m the lucky one,” Kyle replied thoughtfully thinking about the woman who had stood by him through thick and thin. “And one day you’re going to find someone like that too.”

“I hope so,” she nodded wiping at her face once more, “and for what it’s worth, I’m really happy that we didn’t lose you Kyle. You’re really a great guy and I love you for that.”

“I know Heather and even though I want to spend half my time strangling you,” he jabbed with a hint of laughter in his voice, “the truth to the matter is that I think you’re pretty special as well. You’re someone that I’d do anything for and I have to tell you given what Cameron and Susan have put us through, I can’t promise you that I’m not going to have to have a one on one meeting with him when I get out of here.”

“I’d rather you’d not. I think he’s hurt you enough. With what Susan did, well, I want you to stay far away from him. I’m not his wife anymore, so I think he’ll leave me alone,” she stated hopefully, “I mean it could be entirely possible.”

“Yeah, well for what it’s worth, I just want you to know that I’m here for you Heather. Whatever you need, all you have to do is ask…” he continued to explain.

“The same goes for you Kyle. I mean guys like you don’t roll around every day, now do they?” she paused, “and on some level I think you and I know one another and can relate to one another now in ways that other people can’t. I understand what you’re going through and while it’s not my style to act like Sarah does with her heart on her sleeve, the truth to the matter is that I would’ve been really upset if I’d lost you. You’re someone that the world needs Kyle.”

“And so are you Heather. Without women like you life would be truly boring,” Kyle replied squeezing her in his arms. He held her in an embrace thinking of how he’d always viewed her as a younger sister growing up and for the first time since he’d arrived in Coral Valley, he found himself seeing the real Heather. It was a nice, refreshing change. He squeezed her in his arms before kissing her cheek gently, “and just for the record, I love you too Heather.”

“Of course you do,” she laughed lightly trying to put a bit of her natural spark into the moment, “I mean look at me. How could you not?”

“You know if I didn’t know you better, I’d think you were trying to get past this moment of seriousness between us,” Kyle added still hugging her.

“Am I that obvious?” Heather laughed nervously.

“Like an open book, but I’m not about to let this once in a lifetime moment pass us by. You can be Heather Gibbons in a few minutes, but now you’re going to just be Heather Marx, the girl next door that liked to steal my video games when she thought I wasn’t looking,” he decided hugging her once again in the hopes of reaching out to someone who hadn’t opened up in a very long time.

“Oh please,” Sarah rolled her eyes as she stood in the doorway watching Heather and Kyle’s exchange. While she hadn’t heard much of what they’d said since Heather had grown very quiet, she could see that Heather was certainly working an angle with Kyle. Heather was once again being her usual manipulator at the worst possible time and it took everything in Sarah not to rush into the room and kick the crap out of her sister for trying to stir up trouble once again.


“I don’t believe this,” Chris confessed looking over the various clippings and archived footage they had dug up on Bruce Mathis. After doing an extensive search they were able to pull together pieces of murders that Bruce had been linked to even though at the time the police hadn’t had a clue about what was happening. “The man really puts psycho into the word psychopath doesn’t he?”

“Unfortunately in more ways than one,” Grady frowned hearing Brant’s words circling around and around in his head. After reading all the various reports on what Bruce was capable of and seeing the photos of victims that Bruce had picked up, Grady had to wonder if perhaps Brant was onto something.

Sure, it might’ve been something that Grady might’ve considered in terms of Bruce taking Jade, but now, well now he just prayed that she wasn’t the latest in his long list of victims. Although for the most part the women seemed to be a bit trashy and promiscuous--two things that Grady was certain Jade wouldn’t have been if Bruce had crossed paths with her. By the time Bruce would’ve found her, Jade wouldn’t have been interested in anything even remotely sexual at all. In most of the cases it seemed as if the women that were attacked were women that had flirted with him and shown some kind of interest after he’d approached them. Granted none of them had any idea what they were getting themselves into, but now Grady had wished that someone would’ve warned them before it was too late.

“So do you really think this lunatic could’ve taken Jade?” Chris questioned sitting on the edge of the clipping filled desk.

“I really hope not,” Grady sighed feeling tension mount in his neck and shoulders. He reached out for another clipping ready to read further when his cell phone started to ring. He fished it out of his pocket and answered with a frown, “hello.”

“Grady, hey it’s Julian,” the voice on the other line started, “Lieutenant Kurts.”

“I know who is it,” Grady sat up straighter. “What is it? Did you find something? Please tell me you found something…”

“That’s why I was calling,” Julian paused heavily, “You see I’m at Susan Hastings’s apartment and…”

“And what?” Grady’s voice grew thick with worry, “Did you find her?”

“Not exactly, but I did find something that I think you should see. I know I’m going out on a limb in doing this, but can you come over here?” Julian questioned cryptically his words trailing off.

“What is it?” Grady sensed something was wrong.

“I can’t get into it over the phone, but I will say that if you’re coming over, you’re going to have to do it soon because if you take too long the police aren’t going to let you in here…” Julian began to explain hearing nothing but silence on the other end of the line, “Grady? Grady, are you there?”

Julian waited hearing shuffling on the other end of the line.

“Hello,” Chris spoke into the phone uneasily, “Who is this?”

“Lieutenant Kurts of the Coral Valley Police Department. Who is this?” Julian replied stiffly.

“A friend of Grady’s. He just dropped the phone and ran out of my office. I think it’s safe to say whatever it is you just told him has him eager to see you,” Chris looked up to see Grady approaching again, “Oh wait it looks like he’s coming back.”

“I forgot my phone,” Grady started to say only to watch Chris hand it over. Bringing the phone to his ear again Grady spoke into the phone, “I’m on my way over. If they try to keep me out, I’m still coming over there anyways so you’ve been warned.”

“Hurry up,” Julian replied as Grady hung up.

“Hot lead?” Chris asked as Grady stuffed his phone into his pocket.

“I’m not sure yet, but I’m hoping whatever it is, it brings them closer to finding Susan,” Grady decided thinking about all the things that Susan had done to destroy Kyle’s life. Even Ken was on the hit list and now well, now Grady was wishing like crazy that whatever it was Julian had to show him would finally take Susan down and put her where she belonged--behind bars!


...to be continued...