Episode 233

“Cori,” Dave chastised unable to believe the way his sister was carrying on about the women in his life. While Dave had called Deidra earlier in the hopes of catching up with her about what he’d dug up on Dean, he really hadn’t expect her to just show up without calling. Not that he minded, but still. As he looked at his sister though, he could see full well that she minded Deidra being around.

“What?” Cori placed her hands on her hips impatiently, “You can’t blame me for not liking her considering that she caused you grief time and time again.”

“Well hello to you too,” Deidra began in an attempt to be polite despite the fact she knew full well that Cori hated her.

“Oh whatever,” Cori rolled her eyes at Deidra, “Tell me something. Which guy dumped you this time? Who of Dave’s friends were you sleeping with?”

“Cori!” Dave snapped at her.

“What, I’m just saying because I know full well that she’s not with you--unless of course she wants to screw around with your emotions,” Cori threw her hands up in the air with heavy agitation, “I don’t even know why I bothered with you in the first place Dave. You’re hopeless.”

“Cori,” Dave started watching his sister walk out the door without saying another word.

“Well, I can see Cori’s really happy to see me again,” Deidra tried to make light of the situation before clearing her throat uneasily, “So what was it you wanted to talk to me about?”

“Actually,” Dave hesitated thinking about what he’d dug up on Dean. It wasn’t much, but it was a start, “Maybe you should have a seat.”

“Well I was in a bit of a rush but…” she stopped herself before smiling, “Okay but just for a few minutes.”

“Excellent,” Dave motioned for her to follow him over to where the couch was, “Now Deidra before you go nuts on me, I have a confession to make.”

“What kind of confession,” she frowned catching his guilty expression, “Okay, why do I get the feeling that I’m not going to like what you have to say?”

“Deidra, I know that you asked me to let it go with Dean, but after that phone call you made all worried about things, I knew I couldn’t just let it go,” Dave started taking in another breath as he watched her dark eyes flash with anger.

“Dave, please don’t tell me that you went ahead and did a background check on him anyways,” Deidra frowned her eyes glaring up at him, “because if you did, I don’t want to hear it. I specifically asked you not to do that considering that…”

“I know what you asked, but I couldn’t just leave it at that. You’re my best friend and given that you’ve been burned time and time again in the past, well I couldn’t just let it go without at least checking. Deidra I had to know that…” he tried to reason with her.

“So you went against what I asked of you and checked in on him anyways? That’s real wonderful Dave,” she threw her hands up in the air, “Whatever happened to respecting my wishes?”

“Whatever happened to playing it smart and being safe,” he tossed out at her disapprovingly, “You know full well that the last thing you need in your life is to get wrapped up with some jerk who is going to hurt you again. You’ve been down that road too many times already and…”

“And nothing,” she stood up, her anger boiling over her, “I told you to let it go. I asked you to forget about it, but no you can’t do that, can you? You can’t just let it go.”

“I wanted to--I really did, but I care about you too much to let it go,” he explained further knowing that she was mad as hell right now, but it didn’t matter. He had to protect her--had to keep her safe.

“You should’ve just let it go. If you really cared you wouldn’t have tried to dig up the dirt on Dean after I left,” she shook her head at him, “Dave, I already told you that…”

“Deidra, would you just listen,” he stepped in closer to her, “For five minutes would you just be quiet and hear me out?”

“No because if I wanted to know, then I wouldn’t have told you to stop the search. I love him Dave. I didn’t realize that until just recently, but the truth to the matter is that he makes me feel things I haven’t felt in years. No, I take that back,” Deidra waved her hands around wildly, “In my whole life.”

“Yes, but even though it feels like a good time, what do you know about him? What do you really know about him?” Dave questioned further, “I mean you say you love him, but a few days ago you weren’t even sure you could trust him.”

“That was before,” she argued placing her hands on her hips stubbornly.

“Before what?” he replied with a scowl.

“Before I decided to have faith in love and the world around me. If I can’t trust the man that I love, then what is the point?” she challenged with a huff.

“The point is you don’t want to wind up dead. I know that right now you think that he’s something special, but given that you don’t know much of anything about him…” he tried to reason with her again.

“I know what I need to know. He’s exciting and romantic and he makes me feel like the most beautiful woman in the universe. What more do I need?”

“Safety perhaps. Security and…” he began to list off a few traits.

“You’re being ridiculous. In fact this whole conversation is ridiculous. I’m leaving,” she spun on her heel to leave.

“Deidra wait. You need to know what I found. I need you to hear this. I think that you should at least…” he begged of her.

“At least what? Hear what I told you I wasn’t interested in?” she raised a speculative brow before taking a step back. Folding her arms in front of her chest, she glared up at him. “Go ahead Dave. You’re just dying to lay it on me, so tell me what Dean has done that has made him so utterly and completely horrible.”

“That’s just it,” he replied mirroring her frown, “I didn’t find anything on him.”

“Wait a second, you’re giving me grief because you didn’t find anything on him? Dave what is wrong with you?” she threw her hands up in the air, “Are you out of your mind?”

“No Deidra. You’re not getting it. I didn’t find anything at all on him. I checked the computers three times and the man has no history. There’s no record of him ever graduating high school, no driver’s license on file--nothing…” he explained further.

“Then you weren’t looking in the right places Dave. You’re wrong,” she stated plainly, “I don’t know what kind of half-assed search you were running, but it wouldn’t have come up empty. Did the computer system crash lately?”

“That’s beside the point,” he huffed in response.

“Yeah that’s what I thought. In other words you found nothing because there was nothing to find with your computers all in limbo,” she shook her head at him, “Dave, please for me let it go.”

“I can’t Deidra. I don’t trust the guy and if you’re smart, you’ll just get out while you still can. You’ll cut your losses and just dump him,” Dave blurted out hoping that she’d listen to him without protest. However, given the expression on her face, Dave knew it wasn’t about to be that easy between them.


“Good, you’re here,” Julian let out a sigh of relief as Grady walked up to the door quickly and Julian let him in, “We have to be quick, so follow me.”

“What is it that you found Julian?” Grady questioned quickly. A part of him was excited that there was something that proved Jade was still around, but another part of him was worried because he didn’t know what this whole thing would lead to.

“I’ll let you have a look at it yourself,” Julian frowned, leading him into one of the rooms and pointing towards the desk.

“What is it?” Grady wondered, looking down towards the desk to find a ring and a picture. Grady picked the ring up in his fingers lightly, realizing what it was. “This is belonged to Jade’s mother--she would never let this out of her sight.”

“Take a look at that,” Julian nodded back towards the picture as Grady picked it up slowly.

“This was in her car,” Grady informed Julian as he ran his fingers along the picture gently. It was a picture of him and Jade together. It was always was on her dashboard and now it was in Susan’s apartment. His eyes widened at the sight of a red stain on the side of the picture. “Is that--”

“Blood?” Julian finished, shrugging his shoulders before going on. “I think we should have that checked out in the lab or something.”

“Did you find anything else?” Grady questioned eagerly, hating to just have these two little things. “I mean, if she has Jade--there has to be more than this.”

“I didn’t do the looking,” Julian informed him with a small sigh, “But I doubt that we can find anything more Grady--it’s close to impossible.”

“Nothing is impossible,” Grady pointed out before shrugging his shoulders, “Do you think we could possibly find Susan? If we do find her, she can lead me to Jade.”

“I can’t promise anything Grady,” Julian frowned, thinking for a second, “If you think we can find anything else in here, I mean--we can try I guess.”

“You would be risking too much if you didn’t at least try,” Grady declared, pointing back towards the bedroom, “Let’s check out the bedroom first and work our way forward.”

“Sounds good,” Julian agreed, following Grady down the hallway before they entered the bedroom.

“You look in the dresser and under the bed, I’ll look in the closet,” Grady suggested seeing Julian nod. Grady opened her closet, pushing some clothes out of the way. “I can’t believe that this whole time, Susan was the one that kidnapped Jade. She may not even have Jade. I don’t understand what is really going on here.”

“This whole thing is confusing,” Julian nodded, getting up off his knees quickly, “There was nothing under the bed.”

“Okay, keep looking,” Grady ordered, looking on the shelf above the clothes. “Julian, come here a second.”

“What? Did you find something?” Julian quickly helped Grady pull out what seemed to be some blue prints and a map. “What is all this stuff?”

“I don’t know, but let’s find out,” Grady bit down on his lip as he spread one of the blue prints out on the bed. “Is this what I think it is?”

“She’s the one who…” Julian fought back his words before Grady grabbed the map from Julian’s hands and spread it out.

“If she was, I have to find Jade,” Grady declared, seeing an area circled in a black marker. “Where is this?”

“It’s a warehouse,” Julian answered, thinking for a quick second, “I’ve seen it a couple of times. You don’t think she has Jade there do you?”

“We should check everything out before we assume she isn’t,” Grady insisted as Julian pulled out his cell phone quickly.

“I’ll call for backup--just in case,” Julian walked away from Grady as he dialed the number.

“I should call Avery,” Grady decided, taking out his cell phone as Julian approached him again, “You ready to go?”

“Let’s go,” Julian led Grady towards the door as Grady started to dial Avery’s number, he should give her an update on how everything is going.


“Sorry about being gone so long before,” Brant apologized glancing over at Avery as they were on their way home from the hospital. While he’d watched her exchange with Ken, the last thing he was going to do was clue her in to what he’d witnessed. Still thinking about how forgiving and wonderful she was, he couldn’t help but want to make things up to her after all the chaos.

“I’m the one who should be apologizing to you,” she replied tilting her head to the side to look up at him, “I should’ve called you last night or at the very least gone home like I said I was doing. I know I terrified you and the more I think about it, the more horrible I feel about everything.”

“Hey, I acted like a jealous ass this morning,” Brant reached out to squeeze her hand gently, “I was so relieved that you were with Grady instead of having been with Bruce. When I thought about what could’ve happened--how Bruce could’ve found a way to take you from me, well it had me beyond worried. Even now I hate the idea of him making his way to you. I guess that when I showed up at Grady’s all I wanted was for you to be there, but then when you were, well I guess I kind of lost it.”

“And with good reason. I promised you that I would go home--that I wouldn’t go anywhere else, but I let my worries get the best of me where Grady was concerned,” she added lacing their fingers in one another, “I guess when it comes to people I care about, I tend to lose my head a bit.”

“I think you’re a wonderful person,” he glanced over at her briefly, “You have such an amazing heart and that’s part of why I love you. I can’t fault you for wanting to help those in need of a shoulder every now and then. I knew that it was part of who you were before I married you and it was one of the things that had me fall for you in the first place.”

“And now,” she half questioned, “even though it irritates you, do you think that you can try to understand where I’m coming from?”

“I more than understand,” he promised with a small smile, “In fact, given that the last few days have been nothing but pure and utter craziness, what if we take tonight and do something for us?”

“Such as?” she arched a curious brow.

“Such as we have a dinner--something romantic and just the two of us. Ken is okay and I know that there will be a guard on his door. Susan isn’t going to have an opportunity to get near him. Same goes for Kyle,” Brant continued to explain, “I think that given that we’ve been kind of racing to their aid that maybe just maybe tonight we can take things nice and slow for a while.”

“I think I’d like that a lot,” Avery replied bringing his hand up to hers in a small kiss. “I really would.”

“So would I,” Brant nodded in response, “which I guess means that since we’re in agreement on that the next step should be figuring out what it is we’re in the mood for tonight. Have any particular cravings?”

“You mean other than you,” she offered up suggestively bringing her hand over his leg in a sultry movement.

His gaze dropped, a smile teasing over his lips at the thought of being able to bond with her on a more intimate level, “Well yes I suppose. Granted I can think of a great deal of things I’d like to do to you when I get you home and naked, but given that you haven’t eaten in a while, I thought maybe I’d cater to that appetite before we delved into the more important cravings between us.”

“Hmm, well since you put it that way,” she leaned into him, laying her head on his shoulder as he drove along the road, “How about Italian? We haven’t had that in a while.”

“Italian sounds good,” he nodded turning off the main road, “I know a quiet little place where we can…”

“Order take out and bring it back to the mansion with us,” she asked her breath skimming over the side of his neck.

“Of course we can certainly do that,” he nodded eagerly reaching into his pocket and pulling out his cell phone. He handed it to her, “It’s speed dial eight.”

“You have the place on speed dial,” Avery gave him a strange look, “That’s um, different.”

“It wasn’t always there, but I happen to have this incredible woman in my life that thinks the world of the place and I figured should there be some kind of emergency meal situation coming up, I should be prepared.”

“I like the way you think,” she grinned in response ready to call the restaurant. She turned to look at him once again, “Any preference on what we get?”

“As long as you’re included in the package we can get just about anything,” he teased with a sexy smirk watching her call in their order. While things had been tense lately, he had very good thoughts about tonight. Sure, they’d both been through the ringer and back, but tonight would be about bonding on a more personal level with one another. The last time they’d made love Avery was less than thrilled with him, but now, well tonight he’d go all out making a memory for her that she’d never forget.

“Okay they said our order will be ready in like fifteen minutes,” Avery announced interrupting his thoughts, “and then, well, then we’ll have to have our own private celebration at home.”

“That’s exactly what I was thinking about,” Brant laughed lightly, feeling her fingers tease over his thigh again, “Tell me something Avery. How adventurous are you feeling tonight?”

“Why do you ask,” she questioned seeing the spark of mischief behind his eyes.

“I’m just curious,” he shrugged keeping his eyes on the road ahead of them.

“Well, I happen to enjoy a good adventure every now and then,” she confessed in a low, tempting whisper, “especially when it involves a sexy man like yourself.”

“See I knew there was a reason why you and I got along so well,” Brant mused with a small laugh, “We both have a finer appreciation of the greater things in life.”

“That we do,” she slid in closer to him, her hand rising up over his thigh in a determined movement, “and I happen to think that my husband is most certainly one of the finer things in my life.”

“Funny, I was thinking that very same thing about my wife,” Brant confessed tilting his head to the side. He opened his mouth to say something more when he felt her hand in his lap.

“All the more reason for me to show you just how wonderful I think you are,” she whispered, her breath striking against the side of his neck determined and eager. She placed a kiss over his skin before her fingers dipped in over the center of his pants playing with the zipper. “Now about that adventure…”

“Avery, you’re playing with fire,” he mouthed feeling a little hot under the collar as her hand slipped inside of his slacks.

“That happens to be one of my favorite games,” she added watching him squirm beside her, “You said you wanted to know about my sense of adventure, did you not?”

“I did,” he spoke tightly, his throat dry and raspy as he felt her caress his body, “but you’re working on getting us killed if you’re not careful.”

“Oh I’ll be careful. Very, very careful,” she promised leaning in to place a hot, wet kiss over his skin.

Brant felt the car skid a bit before he quickly pulled into the restaurant parking lot ready to rip her clothes off and have his way with her then and there. He closed his eyes for the briefest of moments before screeching into a parking spot. He inhaled slowly, feeling the temptation of her adventure seeking skills upon him. Still, he had a plan and a purpose for tonight.

“Avery wait,” Brant stopped himself from succumbing to pleasure by reaching out to catch her hand in his. Their eyes connected and when she licked her lips, he just about lost it then and there. Still, there was no way he could fully enjoy taking her in the parking lot in his tiny sports car when they had a whole king sized bed to work with at home.

“What?” she fluttered her eyelashes innocently, “Aren’t you enjoying this?”

“I am,” he bit back on the sounds of pleasure that had pooled in the back of his throat, “very much, but I want to get you home before we get into an accident.”

“We’re parked now,” she wiggled her brow suggestively, “and this place seems a bit quiet.”

“Even so, I don’t want to be quiet,” Brant announced leaning in to kiss her heatedly, “Especially not once I get you home. Tonight I want to make a buffet out of you…”

“So what’s stopping you from having a little snack right about now,” she questioned in a hot, inviting whisper.

“The fact that we have to pick up dinner,” he replied stiffly motioning to the restaurant, “and given my current condition, well I don’t think I should be the one going inside to pick it up.”

“Wouldn’t you rather we do something to alleviate your current state of frustration before our meal,” she tossed back at him with a teasing grin.

“They said good things are worth waiting for,” he mouthed heatedly, “and when I get you home, I promise you’ll love every second of what I have in mind for us.”

“Fine,” Avery retreated, easing up a bit before winking at him, “but you will have to find a very good way to make this up to me.”

“I can promise you a very incredible experience tonight,” he assured her feeling her reach into his pants pocket. “Avery…”

“What,” she questioned innocently withdrawing his wallet, “You wanted me to go inside and get dinner, didn’t you?”

“Well yes, but…” he paused watching her pull out some money, “You’re such a tease.”

“And you love every second of it,” she blew a kiss in his general direction before getting out of the car and walking in through the front doors of the restaurant.

Brant watched her closely careful to make sure that nothing happened to her on the walk to the restaurant. From where he was parked in a zigzag slant, he could see her inside the place walking up to the take out area. Oh how he was going to enjoy tonight. He was going to give her all the reasons why they had a good thing together--why their being married was better than anything either one of them had experienced in their lives. Tonight he’d pull out all the stops in savoring every inch of his wife. That thought alone had him almost regretting letting her leave the car.

“Tonight I’m going to show you heaven,” Brant mouthed as he watched her inside the restaurant. He began to whistle to himself when he heard the faint ringing of Avery’s cell phone. Looking over to the passenger seat, he noticed her purse was open. He eyed the restaurant again watching her before he refocused on the purse. Dipping his fingers inside, he pulled out the phone and immediately he caught the name on the caller ID. Grady Denton.

“Wonderful,” Brant muttered looking to the restaurant again. As if Grady couldn’t just leave things well enough alone, Brant frowned to himself watching the man inside handing Avery a brown, paper bag. Brant looked to the phone again thinking about how time after time Grady had managed to screw things up for them. It seemed the man was always in need of Avery.

“Not tonight,” Brant mouthed to himself making a decision to put Grady’s needy streak to an end. He pushed the power button on Avery’s phone turning it off before dropping it into her purse again. If Grady Denton was so hard up for attention tonight, then he could get it elsewhere. Tonight Avery was all Brant’s and he wasn’t about to share her with Grady any longer.

“Miss me,” Avery questioned opening the door and surprising Brant as she looked down at him. She handed him the bag before sliding into her seat beside him, “Everything alright?”

“Everything is better than alright,” Brant grinned wildly over at her, “because tonight, I promise we’re going to have a night that neither one of us is going to forget.”

“I can’t wait,” Avery pulled the bag of food back into her lap as he started up the car.

“Neither can I,” Brant whistled to himself realizing that he’d made the right decision. Grady Denton was nothing but a bother and tonight, well tonight Brant was going to give his wife a much needed break from Grady’s constant harassment.


“She’s finally gone,” Sarah sighed, sitting down in the chair next to Kyle’s hospital bed.

“Finally gone?” Kyle questioned, tensing his eyebrows at her comment. “What is that supposed to mean Sarah?”

“Well, you know,” Sarah struggled to answered, shrugging her shoulders, “When Heather is around, she is always up to something isn’t she?”

“No, she was actually being kind of nice if you ask me,” Kyle replied with a slight bit of irritation behind his voice, “She came to see how I was doing Sarah. She’s your sister, at least you should give her some credit.”

“Okay, where is this coming from?” Sarah leaned forward in her chair as Kyle shrugged his shoulders. “Since when have you really felt that way about Heather?”

“About the time she came in here,” Kyle answered, shaking his head slowly, “She was just trying to be nice you know.”

“Now you know she wants something,” Sarah chuckled as Kyle arched his eyebrow at her.

“What makes you think that?” Kyle wondered with a small frown. “If you asked me, I think she is trying to change and be somewhat of a good person. People just won’t give her a chance.”

“Kyle, you know she’s probably trying to work an angle with you,” Sarah pointed out with a small frown, “Now that Kipp is fighting for sole custody of Charles I really think she‘s up to something.”

“I don’t Sarah,” Kyle shook his head slowly before thinking a moment, “We should give Heather the benefit of the doubt. I don’t really think Kipp should have sole custody of Charles.”

“Why would you say something like that?” Sarah questioned, not believing where this was coming from. “You’ve seen the way Heather was when she had Charles. You’ve also seen how good of a father Kipp is to that child.”

“Believe me, I know he is a good father and I’m not saying he isn’t,” Kyle protested, slightly shrugging, “I just don’t think he should have sole custody. They are both his parents.”

“Parents?” Sarah laughed, shaking her head slowly. “Heather is no where near being that little boy’s parent. She might’ve given birth to him, but she never even treated him like her son. She couldn’t even be bothered with him before.”

“It’s because no one ever gave her a chance,” Kyle’s voice rose as he shook his head at her, “Heather was going through a lot Sarah. She never really had the chance to be a mother.”

“She shouldn’t need anymore chances Kyle,” Sarah pointed out, shaking her head slowly, “The first impression is always the one that lives on.”

“You know, you’re sister seems to be trying to turn her whole life around,” Kyle pointed out, his jaw tightening, “Maybe you should try to encourage her instead of being so negative about this whole thing.”

“Um, okay,” Sarah shook her head as she looked at Kyle. What did Heather say to him that had him acting like this?


“Would you look at that,” JT mused with a cocky grin as he stepped into the bathroom only to discover Valerie kneeling on the tiled floor. He leaned in to look at the toilet, seeing her looking less than impressed as he grinned widely. “I don’t think I’ve ever seen that toilet bowl sparkle like that before. You’re quite good at this whole cleaning thing Val. Who knew?”

“Go to hell,” she spat at him, her anger bubbling over at her after the day she’d had. It was bad enough when JT had expected her to cook for him, but the day got even worse when he started to demand that she work on fixing up the rest of the house. She’d cleaned in the kitchen, the living room, the laundry room, which by the way had her wanting to vomit after she’d found half the dirty laundry he’d had tucked away behind a few of the boxes, and now, well now the grand master of all vomit worthy rooms in house was the bathroom where she was at the moment knee deep in anti-bacterial spray and cleaners.

“Oh come on,” JT leaned in against the counter folding his arms in a mocking gesture, “It’s nice to see that you do have some kind of usefulness after all. For a while there I was starting to think that you were nothing but trouble.”

She glared up at him fighting to keep from telling him the words that had been on her mind all morning.

He stood taller looking beyond where she knelt on the floor. His eyes widened before he wiggled his finger at whatever had captured his attention. “You missed a spot.”

“That’s it,” Valerie tossed the scrubby brush she was working with aside, “Listen you ungrateful ass. Most men could love to have me living with them. They would treat me like a princess and bend over backwards to get me to pay them some kind of attention.”

“Good then save us both a headache and go live with one of them instead of me,” he shrugged finding himself bored with her whining, “Remember I’m not the one who wanted you here. You’re the one who felt the need to move in on my territory.”

“That was before I learned what a loser you truly are,” she spat out at him. She felt a piece of her long hair fall in front of her eyes and she tried to blow it away from her face.

“No one is asking you to like me or for you to live here sweetheart,” he reminded her before standing up straighter, “You can leave whenever you’d like.”

“I’d like to strangle you. That’s what I’d like,” Valerie muttered under her breath watching as he walked towards the door.

“I’d like to see you try,” JT spun around to glare at her, “but I should warn you when you attempt it, I will be on the phone with the boys in blue telling them all about your antics with my credit card.”

“I’ll deny everything,” she challenged his bluff.

“I dare you to Ms. ‘I was in jail less than a week ago’,” he wiggled his brow at her knowing that he had her caught. He let out a small chuckle hearing his phone ring before he wrinkled his nose at her, “Try to finish this up soon because I’m expecting company later and I don’t need a mess in here.”

“You…” she screamed under her breath thinking about all the million and one ways she’d like to kill JT.

He could still hear her cursing to herself as he made his way into the living room. Oh how good it felt to watch her submit to his will. It was better than having a maid, he thought to himself before picking up the phone.

“Hello,” he answered cheerfully.

“Hey little brother,” Cameron’s voice chimed in over the line, “How’s it going?”

“Exceedingly well,” JT chuckled hearing Valerie let out another squeal. She was miserable and he loved every second of it, “Yourself?”

“Well, given that I’ve been given my official pardon if you will, I’m in the mood to celebrate,” Cameron blurted out eagerly.

“I take it that you managed to pull a few strings and get out of the joint before you became the inmate of the month,” JT teased with a small laugh.

“That’s so not funny,” Cameron grumbled in response, “and if I wasn’t in such a damned good mood, then I might really be upset by that remark.”

“Sorry, I just call them like I see them,” JT shrugged, “So what’s on your mind Cam?”

“Dinner at my place,” Cameron replied matter of fact, “I’m having a little celebration and I’d really like for you to join me.”

“Hmm, well since you put it that way, how can I refuse my older brother?” JT decided with an afterthought, “What time?”

“Say around six,” Cameron continued, “and maybe while you’re here we can discuss that little issue with that woman you are interested in.”

“Since you put it that way, I think I’d be more than happy to considering there are a few developments that I’d like to discuss with you,” JT confessed with a twisted smirk, “So six it is.”

“Excellent. I’ll see you soon then,” Cameron finished up the conversation leaving JT to ponder the ways in which he could use his brother’s help to work the situation with Diane to his advantage. Hanging up the phone JT began to whistle to himself.

“Who was that?” Valerie snarled standing behind him with hands on her hips.

“None of your business,” he shrugged moving past her, “but I do have a dinner date tonight, so I’d really appreciate it if you finish up in that bathroom right away.”

“I’m not doing anything until you be honest with me,” she replied stubbornly, “That was your brother, wasn’t it?”

“As a matter of fact it was,” he nodded turning around to face her, “He’s in the mood to celebrate his release and I figure it’s the least I can do by showing up tonight.”

“Take me with you,” Valerie pleaded with him, “Please…”

“Excuse me?” he laughed in her face, “You’ve got to be kidding me right.”

“The last time I met your brother he said he was more than willing to try to help me with Seth and I think if I go over there to see him, he and I might be able to work out something,” she continued eagerly, “He seems like he’s got a lot of influence and…”

“You’re insane. There’s no way I’m taking you to his place, so you should just get it out of your head starting now,” he spun on his heel to leave only to hear her call out to him once more.

“If you don’t take me tonight I swear to you that the moment you walk out the door I will call Ben up and tell him exactly everything you’re planning to do in order to rip him and Diane apart,” she threatened in a dark, menacing tone. “And don’t think I won’t. I’ll tell Ben everything and then you won’t stand a snowball’s chance in hell of reuniting with her.”

“You aren’t that stupid,” he replied glaring over at her, “If you even think of doing something like that, I could very easily bury you for the fraud charges.”

“You could, but at the same time are you willing to risk any chance of being with Diane?” she challenged taking a step forward.

“Not nearly as much as you are right now in trying to blackmail me. At this point you could very easily lose the roof over your head if you’re not careful,” he warned sharply.

“And then I’d stay with Ben. Once I told him about all of your plans for Diane, not only would he take me in, but he’d find a way to make sure you didn’t get within a ten mile radius of Diane,” she taunted further, “You’d lose any and all chances of reuniting with her if you don’t take me tonight.”

“Valerie, you’d be best suited not to blackmail me. It’s not going to get you anywhere,” he warned wiggling his finger at her.

“I’m not blackmailing you. I’m merely asking you to take me to dinner with you after all the hell that you put me through the past few days. I could use a little time out and besides, the last time I saw your brother he was more than willing to help me with Seth. He said that he’d give me a few pointers and I’d really like to see him again. He has a lot of influence and…”

“And I’m not about to let you ruin another night for me. You’re a headache waiting to happen and I’m not going to push that on my brother,” JT decided firmly.

“JT, please. I’m begging you,” she curled her lip in a pout, “which you know full well isn’t something I normally do. If he can help me get back Seth, then…”

“This is insane,” he threw his hands up in the air, “I’m not taking you with me.”

“Please,” she curled her lip in a pout, “I promise you if you take me with you tonight, then tomorrow when you have your big date night I’ll make myself scarce.”

“How scarce?” he arched a curious brow.

“I’ll go away for the night,” she explained watching a grin expand over his features, “but only for the night. You can have the place all to yourself and then, well then we’ll try to work out some kind of arrangement where I pay you for taking me in.”

“As in rent?” he replied watching her closely.

“Yeah, as in rent,” she nodded with a scowl, “I’m sure I can dig up the money considering that it beats the hell out of manual labor. So what do you say?”

“I say I’m not in the mood for another one of your headaches tonight,” he grumbled down at her.

“I promise I’ll be on my best behavior. I won’t utter a peep about anything annoying and I’ll try to stay as far from you as possible. You said it was a celebration after all, right? I’m sure your brother is going to have more than us over,” she stepped in closer yet, “Please JT. What do you say?”

“I say it’s insane for even thinking it, but I guess if you promise to shut your yap and start paying rent--really paying rent, then I think we can work something out,” he caved in after a long moment of contemplation.

“Oh thank you. I promise you won’t regret it,” she cheered excitedly reaching out to embrace him, but he jumped back wrinkling his nose at her.

“You have to be kidding right,” he groaned inwardly, “Given that I just saw you on your hands and knees in my bathroom I don’t want you coming anywhere near me.”

“But JT…” she started.

“Look, I’ll be honest here. You smell horrible and you look like hell. Finish up in the bathroom so that I can take a shower and then you might want to get yourself cleaned up as well,” JT suggested with a small frown.

“Or maybe we can save time and share a shower,” Valerie decided pulling the loosely tied ponytail out of her hair. She reached down to tugged her oversized shirt over her head to reveal her nearly naked body. She tossed the shirt onto the floor before puffing out her chest at him. She was completely naked except for the tiny pink thong she was wearing. She stepped in closer to him, her fingers trailing over the center of his chest, “What do you say?”

“I thought you weren’t interested in anything like that. If I recall you chose cleaning over,” his gaze swept in over her momentarily, “this.”

“Oh please,” she rolled her eyes at him before taking a step back, “I wasn’t offering you sex or anything. I was just saying that we could shower together. I’m not above you looking, but not touching.”

“I see,” he nodded, his gaze traveling over her curves for a long, scrutinizing moment, “well the way I see it, I’m not all that impressed with the preview, so I think I’ll pass on the shower. You can take one when I’m done, but first, go clean it up in there and while you’re at it pick that sweaty shirt off of the floor. I don’t need it messing up my carpet.”

Valerie frowned watching him walk away. He was absolutely impossible and irritating and someone that she would most certainly have to deal with once she had Seth back. Bending down to pick up her shirt again she just kept reminding herself of all the things that would be ahead of her when she and Seth were together again. Life would be absolutely perfect when that day finally came. She was certain of it.


“I can’t believe how much you have done for us Ben,” Diane sighed, walking back inside after they took a look in the backyard. “This house is so beautiful.”

“And it’s ours,” Ben smiled, wrapping his arms around her waist tightly. “I can’t wait to start our life together Diane--it’s going to be so perfect. And just think, I have one more surprise for you coming today.”

“Every moment I have with you is perfect,” she declared with a small smirk as he let go of her hearing the doorbell ring. “Who could that be? Is that my surprise?”

“It’s our first guest,” Ben wiggled his eyebrows up and down before walking to the front door and opening it up, “Judy, hey. How did you know where we were going to be?”

“I heard it from a little bird,” Judy winked, wrapping her arms around his neck lightly to hug him. “I brought Chinese for dinner. Are you two hungry?”

“Very,” Ben nodded with a smirk as he looked back at Diane, “Look. Your mother is here, she found us somehow.”

“I’ll take this as my surprise,” Diane chuckled, hugging her mother after she had put the bag down on the counter, “Thank you for coming.”

“I wouldn’t miss it,” Judy insisted, looking around the kitchen, “You didn’t say this house was beautiful Ben. It looks wonderful.”

“Thank you,” Ben slightly smirked before going to one of the cupboards to pull out some paper plates, “Just think Diane, we are going to have our first dinner in this house.”

“I can’t wait,” Diane replied with a small chuckle as she grabbed the bag and set it down on the table as Ben set the table.

“So, I was thinking that this would be considered a celebration,” Ben declared with a wide smile as he pulled out the chair for Judy and helped her sit down before doing the same for Diane. “A celebration of a whole new chapter to our lives Diane.”

“I hope the story has a happy ending,” Judy added as Ben nodded slowly.

“With my love for Diane,” Ben began, sitting down next to Diane, “There is bound to be a very happy ending. You know, I was thinking Judy. Maybe you could help us with some future plans for this house. I‘m not very good with that whole thing.”

“Sure,” Judy agreed with a wide smile, “I would love to. What is it that you were planning on doing first?”

“The baby’s room,” Ben answered with a smirk, “I was hoping that you would help me situate everything in there. You know, go to the stores and pick out the best things. Like the stuffed animals, the clothing and everything.”

“I would love to help you,” Judy agreed before looking between the couple, “I am so proud of you two. You are going to have a beautiful baby.”

“Thank you mom,” Diane smiled feeling a slight bit of guilt before running her hand over her abdomen, “I am so glad that you are here for me and Ben.”

“She’ll be here for us,” Ben nodded before grabbing Diane’s hand in his gently, “Just like I will be here for you the rest of my life.”

“I hope you stay true to that,” Diane lightly laughed, feeling him kiss the back of her hand gently.

“I will always--always be here for you,” Ben replied quickly before rubbing his hands together, “Well, I guess we should eat so we can show your mother a tour of the house.”

“You might have to show her around because I am still all new to it too,” Diane pointed out as he nodded slowly.

“You’ll get to know it soon,” Ben promised with a wide smile, “But until then, I would love to be the one who does the tours.”


Heather walked into the lobby of the hotel thinking about the very rude dismissal that Augustus had given her. While he’d tried to tell her that he was taking back his offer to help her, there was no way in hell that she was going to let that one happen. He couldn’t back out on her now--especially since she’d kept up to her end of the bargain. Although maybe it was time for her to add a little pressure to his end and give him something to think about.

“Maybe he needs to be reminded again how important it is for us to work together,” Heather stopped in front of the elevators reaching for her cell phone. She dialed Augustus ready to set something up, but unfortunately she got no answer other than his voice mail. She contemplated leaving him a nasty message, but given his sour attitude she was sure he’d just pretend he hadn’t heard it. Hanging up her phone she reached out to push the button for the elevator to take her up to her floor to regroup.

“And so we meet again,” Chris chimed in stepping up from behind Heather. His word caught her off guard as she spun around to glare at him unimpressed.

“What is wrong with you?” she hissed at him clenching her purse at her side. She was suddenly aware of the nagging fact that he was far too close for her comfort and she took a step back. “Are you an idiot or something?”

“An idiot,” Chris repeated with a small laugh, “Now while I’m quite certain that I’ve made some kind of impression upon you, I was hoping that the word idiot wouldn’t factor into your vocabulary considering that it most certainly doesn‘t work it‘s way into mine.”

“Hmm, well you should really work on your vocabulary because that’s exactly the thing I have you pegged for,” she waved her hand at him dismissively before spinning around to reach for the elevator buttons once again.

“Now, I really don’t think that’s a very good assessment of me considering that you and I hardly know one another,” Chris continued stepping in behind her once again.

“One of the few things in this world that I can be thankful for,” Heather mouthed underneath her breath pushing the button in at long last.

“Hey now, I think I’m offended by that. Here I was trying to make some kind of polite conversation with you--you know in chatting and being friendly and…” he rambled on further.

“And do you ever shut up?” she turned to glare at him again, “What are you some kind of stalker or something?”

“No, I’m no where near close to being a stalker, but what I would like is the opportunity to buy you a drink. I mean it’s the least I can do to disprove your theory that I’m an idiot or even some type of stalker. So what do you say? How about it?” Chris flashed her a goofy grin.

“I think that you’re a moron and if you really believe that I would lower myself to have a drink with you especially after the harassment, then,” she paused catching the first glimpse of the television behind his head from back in the bar. Onscreen before her she could see images of Kipp, no doubt the news report was going on and on about what a poor, wounded hero he was and that thought made her want to vomit.

“Look before you achieve your goal in wounding my ego in ways that no other woman before you has managed to do, I really think you should reconsider at least letting me buy you a drink considering that…” Chris attempted one last appeal in the hopes that she would give him another chance to make a good first impression.

“Sure, why not,” Heather interrupted catching him off guard.

“What? Did you just say yes?” he looked stunned at her reply.

“I did, but if you’d like me to take that back,” Heather began with a scowl.

“No, no not at all. In fact, if you’d just follow me, I can promise you a drink and some good conversation,” he offered his arm to her making a small gentlemanly gesture.

“We can pass on the conversation,” she snubbed her nose at him, “but as for that drink, well you can buy me a double. I’m going to need it tonight if you even expect me to pretend to be enjoying myself.”

“Consider that double all yours. Now if you’ll just…” Chris began looking to Heather only to discover she’d already walked into the bar. He watched her exit taking the time to appreciate her movements. Okay, so maybe she wasn’t exactly warming up to him at this point, but the night was still young.


“There’s my workaholic,” Cori smiled walking into Diego’s office, seeing him working on his computer, “Diego.”

“Sorry,” Diego sighed, pushing his chair back and away from the computer, “I just had to finish that report.”

“You really work too much I hope you know,” Cori pointed out with a frown, “I think it’s time you had some fun around here.”

“Fun? Cori, I don’t think anything could be really fun around this time,” Diego declared as she walked over towards his desk, grabbing his hand in hers as she pulled him up to his feet. “What is it that you have planned?”

“It’s planned and it’s going to happen,” Cori promised with a smug smile, leading him away from his desk. “You are going to go out with me. You are going to be leaving this hospital for a while.”

“Cori, I have a lot of work,” Diego began to protest before he felt her index finger press in over his lips to hush him.

“Don’t argue,” Cori ordered, removing her finger as he watched her walk towards the door, “We are going to have a good time. You need to get out of here Diego.”

“I will be out of here later,” Diego insisted, shrugging his shoulders, “I really have a lot of work that…”

“You can finish later,” Cori pointed out seeing him look back towards his computer, “I said no arguing over this Diego. You need to loosen up and I am not going to take no for an answer.”

“Well, I guess I do owe you dinner,” Diego remembered seeing her nod slowly, “Okay, okay. I’ll go.”

“Good,” she smirked, grabbing his hand in hers to lead him towards the door, “You just really need to get out of here.”

“Yeah, I think I would have to agree with you,” he nodded as he locked the door behind him, “I do have to come back later Cori.”

“You will come back to all the sad stuff that surround this hospital,” she assured him with a wide smile, looking back at him, “You will just come back a lot later because you’re going to be spending your time with me for a while and you are going to have a good time. I promise you that.”

“With you,” Diego began with a small smirk, shaking his head slowly, “I doubt that I would ever have a boring time with you.”

“That’s what I like to hear,” Cori snapped her fingers before entering the elevator with him.

“So where are we going?” he questioned seeing her shrug as he looked across the elevator at her. “Any place in mind?”

“We’ll think of something,” she nodded slowly before smiling, “We always do.”


“I’m warning you now,” JT began standing on the porch of Cameron’s grand estate, “if you embarrass me, then I’m going to have to strangle you. Even now I can’t believe you wore that.”

“What’s wrong with it,” Valerie questioned motioning to the sheer black nearly transparent blouse with gold buttons that she’d slipped into along with her trendy black mini-skirt. “You said this was a party…”

“A dinner party, not an escort service convention,” he wrinkled his nose at her looking at all the black makeup she’d gobbed on around her eyes. Even her lips looked like she was a woman on the prowl with their thick, red gloss.

“I happen to think I look perfectly dressed for the occasion,” she replied with a huff as the front door opened and Franklin answered.

“Come in Master Mahoney,” he nodded to JT before his eyes fell upon Valerie. Shock registered over his features, “and your guest…”

“More like my pain in the neck,” JT grumbled pushing his way into the estate, “Where’s Cameron?”

“He’s waiting for you in the study. He asked that you join him for a drink before dinner,” Franklin started to explain as Cameron stepped out into the hallway.

“That won’t be necessary for us to retire to the study. Dinner is almost ready.,” Cameron announced moving in closer to them. He was halfway into the foyer when he noticed Valerie. A wide grin spread over his features. “My my what do we have here?”

“Cameron, it’s so good to see you again,” Valerie stepped forward offering her hand out to him, “I was so excited to hear the good news about your release and I insisted that JT bring me tonight to celebrate.”

“Valerie, wasn’t it?” Cameron took her hand in his lifting it to his lips for a chaste kiss.

“That’s right,” she nodded in response, “and it’s so good to see you. You look wonderful all things considered.”

“As do you,” Cameron smiled at her approvingly before speaking to JT, “It’s nice to know you’re keeping good company these days.”

“What her?” JT shook his head, “Please, she’s anything but good company.”

“JT,” Valerie glanced over at him with a glare before turning to Cameron again, “Don’t mind him. He’s just a tad bit grouchy since he didn’t get enough sleep last night. Unlike you, he just doesn’t have any real manners about him.”

“That always was a problem for JT,” Cameron replied smoothly leaning in closer to her, “he gets that from his father.”

“Clearly,” Valerie wrinkled her nose at JT, “but you well you have manners and exquisite taste. It shows in this home and even in the way you carry yourself.”

“I’d like to think so,” Cameron boasted reaching out to slide his arm around Valerie’s shoulder, “So tell me why are you wasting your time keeping company with my brother when you’re into the finer things in life?”

“Because I’ve been waiting for someone like you to come back and entertain me,” Valerie stepped in closer to him, playing her fingers over the center of his chest enticingly, “I could use someone with character to keep me company.”

“Well, then you’re in luck because I have plenty of character and I’ve been seeking out a source of entertainment. Unfortunately it’s been a while since someone as beautiful as yourself has graced this house with her presence. Having you here makes tonight seem all the more magical and inviting.”

“That’s because you’ve been in jail so long that you’d think anything with breasts looks appealing. Being locked up has clearly made you desperate,” JT muttered gruffly before letting out a yawn, “So about dinner…are we going to stand here all night or are we going to eat?”

“Don’t mind him. As I said before he’s just crabby,” Valerie explained with a small smile, “but I’m not. I’m willing to take the time to engage in a conversation with you or anything else that may be of interest.”

“I like your line of thinking,” Cameron dropped his hand down to squeeze her bottom without any further consideration. “It speaks very highly for you and your attributes.”

“That happens to be one of my finer ones,” she purred reciprocating the move and reaching out to grab him, “but I’ve got a couple of them that I’m sure you’ll like even more.”

“I may have to take you up on that suggestion as I have quite a few of my own attributes that I wouldn’t mind sharing with you. I have this private collection reserved for only beautiful women like yourself and…” Cameron began flirting with her.

“And I’d love to explore your collection,” she teased her fingers over the lapels of his jacket before curling her lips in a pout, “but I should warn you that I am a married woman after all.”

“Well you aren’t the first married woman that’s caught my eye and you most certainly won’t be the last,” Cameron confessed in a low, sensual tone, his finger tips grazing in over her collar bone as his eyes traveled to her very exposed cleavage. “Now that we’ve got that out of the way, how about we do what we can to whet our appetites a bit before dinner?”

“That sounds wonderful,” Valerie laced her arm in Cameron’s allowing him to lead her down the hallway as JT stood back just rolling his eyes.

“Moron,” JT groaned knowing that Valerie was playing Cameron with her charms. It was amazing how many men became idiots to that kind of persuasion. JT just found it cheap, easy and a bore. He liked his women up front and adventurous. Valerie was about as transparent as the blouse she was wearing there and JT had no use for her. However, if Cameron wanted to be played, then it was his mistake. JT wasn’t about to take blame for it. He wasn’t nearly that stupid even if Cameron was.

“Sir, can I get you a drink perhaps?” Franklin cleared his throat uneasily after having watched the exchange.

“Sure that sound great Franklin considering that I have the feeling that it’s going to be a long night,” JT sighed realizing that Valerie was going to use tonight to her advantage in trying to lay it on thick. She was so blatant and shallow, but if Cameron wanted to fall for it, it was his stupid mistake--not JT’s.


“Dave I don’t want to hear it,” Deidra raised her hand in protest, “I realize that you’re concerned, but the truth to the matter is that I don’t care about looking into Dean’s past anymore. I love him and that’s all that matters.”

“You keep saying that, but Deidra I’m worried about all of this. There’s something about that guy that’s just not right. You know it and I know it. The fact that I can’t find anything on him only proves that…”

“That there’s nothing to even think about worrying about,” Deidra offered up again.

“Deidra, you said it yourself that you wanted to know the truth about this guy. You want to know what he’s all about and I promised you that I would do that. I promised you I would see what I could dig up on him,” Dave offered once again, “I just don’t want to see you get hurt again.”

“I don’t want to get hurt again either, but maybe this time I jumped the gun. Maybe I was hasty in getting all worried about this. I mean it’s perfectly obvious that Dean is a great guy and…” she started to reason with him.

“You know next to nothing about him. You haven’t been together very long and there’s something shady about him,” he argued further not liking the idea of her buddying up with Dean.

“Dave, we don’t know that. I might’ve read the signals wrong before and…”

“Deidra if he’s up to something, you need to find out what it is. In fact the more I think about it the more I realize that maybe just maybe you should just end things with him. I mean there are plenty of other fish in the sea,” he offered up in the hopes that she’d take in what he was saying to her.

“Dave, I don’t want to break up with him. That’s not why I asked you for your help. I just wanted to know,” she sighed heavily, “I sound crazy. We sound crazy right now. You realize that don’t you?”

“Can I help it if I’m worried about my best friend?” Dave sighed bringing his hand up through his hair. He fought for the right words, yet came up empty, “I just don’t want to see you getting in over your head with this one.”

“That’s my Dave,” Deidra couldn’t help but smile, “Always thinking about everyone else first.”

“Especially when that everyone else is you,” he added watching her closely, “I would really feel better if you let me check him out. Just to be safe…”

“Dave, I love you for thinking about me, but it’s going to be okay,” she replied reaching out to embrace him. She squeezed him in her arms, “Trust me.”

“I do trust you. It’s Dean that I don’t trust,” he whispered in her ear squeezing her in return just in time to hear the sound of his office door opening.

“Well, isn’t this lovely,” Carly frowned taking in the sight before her as she and Kayla stood in the doorway seeing him and Deidra caught up in the moment with one another.


“So tell me, not that I care, but what brings you to Coral Valley,” Heather asked feeling herself loosening up a bit after the round of drinks that she and Chris had shared. They hadn’t said much up until this point and she’d been rather pleased about that, but now after her third martini, she was ready to do something to get over the nagging silence between them. “Are you here on business or pleasure?”

“A little bit of both you could say,” Chris openly offered up ready to reveal a bit about himself to her, “I just moved to town taking in a new job and…”

“Well that’s wonderful,” Heather cut him off disinterested, “the only reason I’m stuck in this place is because I’m looking to relocate to another home.”

“Outside of Coral Valley?” he questioned curiously his eyes widening a bit.

“I hadn’t really thought that far ahead, but now that you mention it maybe I will do just that,” she nodded in response, toying with the olive in her glass, “My son and I are kind of starting over again so I’m thinking maybe we’ll get ourselves a house far from this dump.”

“Dump,” Chris shrugged his shoulders, “Well I hadn’t really considered Coral Valley to be a dump, but it’s nothing like the hustle and bustle of Los Angeles there.”

“Los Angeles,” she repeated as he’d sparked up an interest in her, “You’re from Los Angeles?”

“Well I spent a few years in Beverly Hills, but I guess the whole posh attitude got to be a bit overwhelming,” he wrinkled his nose at the thought, “I kind of figured that the quiet life was better--you know taking things at a much slower pace.”

“Really?” her eyes widened further. She leaned in across the table, tracing the neckline of her shirt to draw emphasis to her body, “and what exactly was it you did in Beverly Hills Chris?”

“Well, I’m a writer,” he explained matter of fact finally thrilled that he’d found something to bait Heather in, “Granted I was only in Beverly Hills for a couple of years, but in my work, well I’ve been all over the world.”

“A writer huh,” she smiled at him, tossing her long, blonde hair over her shoulder, “Well that is rather charming. I’m assuming you’re a screenwriter.”

“Nah,” he waved his hand dismissively, “I couldn’t ever really get into the politics of something like that, so currently I’m editor in chief of my own newspaper if you will.”

“Really, well that must be quite a business indeed,” she nodded encouragingly reaching out to brush her hand against his for a brief second, “It certainly must have it’s perks.”

“Every now and then,” he decided with a small shrug finding himself mesmerized by her green eyes, “It does have a certain appeal when it brings me closer to people. I’m a people person you know and I really, truly enjoy getting out and getting involved with the community.”

“Oh I’ll bet,” she added with a small smile, “and in Beverly Hills I’m sure you rubbed elbows with quite a few people worth talking to.”

“As a matter of fact I did,” he admitted with a small laugh, “It was like one small party after another out of a page of Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous.”

“I’ll bet,” she licked her lips, running her finger over the top of her martini glass suggestively, “So I’m sure you’ve made a lot of connections over the years.”

“A few,” he shrugged modestly, his hand sliding in over hers, “but none of them nearly as beautiful as you are.”

“Oh Chris,” she laughed lightly, a flirty giggle sliding beyond her lips. “You’re such a flatterer.”

“I try,” he confessed bringing her hand up to his lips and planting a small kiss on it, “but with you it’s not very hard to let it flow naturally.”

“Oh you,” she grinned wider, stretching her leg out underneath the table to not so casually brush it up against his. She felt his leg brush against hers in return before she drew a circle over the center of his palm, “You’re so cute.”

“Cute eh,” he replied feeling a new sense of encouragement, “Well I think that’s a step up from idiot.”

“Oh I was just playing about that idiot thing,” Heather waved her hand dismissively, “You wouldn’t believe how many men I’ve met in my life who are all about being obnoxious and irritating. I mean first they use some cheesy pick up line to bait you in and then when they learn you’re an aspiring actress and a swimsuit model…”

“A swimsuit model you say,” he repeated giving her a very complete once over.

“That’s right,” she nodded dishing out more of her charm, “perhaps I could give you a private showing sometime. So tell me, how well is business going for you lately Chris?”

“Very well,” he confessed his eyes drawn to her sun kissed beauty. His gaze lingered to her lips and she must’ve picked up on it before she reached for the olive in her martini, dragging it over her bottom lip suggestively before taking a bite of it. “You could practically say that the paper is selling itself these days.”

“That’s really wonderful news. Something that you should probably do some celebrating about,” Heather decided leaning back in her chair, “Tell me something, would you ever reconsider going back to Beverly Hills again?”

“If prompted with an enticing enough offer, I might be compelled to consider it. I’ve managed to push forward a few careers out there with my writings and I’m sure that I could very easily help you with yours if you’re willing to give me a chance to get to know you better,” Chris answered leaning in over the table to wink at her, “Interested?”

“Very,” she leaned forward matching his movement, “So much so that I think we should discuss it upstairs--say maybe in my hotel room--unless of course you’d rather not.”

“By all means, lead the way,” Chris gulped unable to take his eyes off of the raging beauty before him. She was beyond sexy and once she’d started talking, he found himself completely mesmerized.

“Alright,” Heather nodded reaching for her purse underneath the table, “and for the record I can promise you that with what I show you, you’ll be more than happy to offer up a rave review.”

“I’m already raving about you,” Chris confessed tugging at his collar a bit, the heat of their exchange getting to be a bit much.

“Excellent, then what are we waiting for?” she stood up from the table tossing her hair back once again before giving him a very long once over. “Well?”

“Oh right,” he nodded with a gulp, “Um just let me pay the bill.”

“Don’t be too long,” she licked her lips again watching him wave for one of the waiters to come over to the table.

She ran her fingers through her long hair realizing that he wouldn’t be the worst of the bunch that she’d seduced in the name of getting her career moving. In fact, he was kind of sexy in a goofy, silly sort of way and it had been a while since she’d had a really good sack session. Maybe Chris would prove to be worthy of a night of an Emmy winning performance. She watched him sign the bill and hand over his charge card as she tried to size up what kind of lover he was. She’d had her share of losers and while he was a bit clumsy, she had the feeling that he might be good where she was concerned or at least he might be ready to follow direction pretty well since he was practically drooling over her all night.

“Okay, I’m ready,” Chris announced moving in to join her when the waiter stopped him.

“Mr. Foley you forgot your credit card,” the waiter explained handing Chris his charge card before he could leave.

“Thank you,” Chris smiled at him politely before stepping up to slide his arm around Heather‘s waist, “Now where were we?”

“Wait a second,” Heather pushed him away from her, “Did he just call you Mr. Foley?”

“What of it,” Chris gave her a strange look.

“As in Chris Foley of the Celebrity Scoop magazine?” she questioned taking a step back. “The same Chris Foley that ran story after story on Brant Ashford time and time again in the name of discrediting him.”

“Does it matter?” Chris questioned uneasily seeing her face twist with anger, “Heather honey…”

“Don’t you dare honey me,” she glared at him, her anger bubbling over her, “I remember the piece you wrote on my engagement to Brant. You know the one where you called me the gold digging bargain basement trailer trash whore.”

“Did I say that?” Chris offered up a nervous laugh, “Because I’m certain that I really wouldn’t have ever…”

“Oh you did and I can’t believe I was even nice to you,” she huffed glaring over at him, “Of all the low, rotten things in this world, people like you take the cake. You think you’re so wonderful because you tell gossip and spread lies about people, but guess what. You’re not. You’re lower than low. You’re pond scum.”

“So I guess this means that we’re not going to go up to your room tonight then huh?” Chris tried to make light of the situation.

“Not on your life,” she hissed shaking her head at him, “You disgust me.”

“You were enjoying my company before you knew who I was. Come to think of it, you seemed rather eager to get to know me. I think that’s a good starting point,” Chris spoke up encouragingly, “We really shouldn’t let something so trivial as a last name get in the way now should we?”

“You repulse me,” Heather announced.

“But we had a few laughs, good conversation and a drink. I bought you a drink,” he pointed out in an attempt to keep her from leaving, “Surely we can work from that starting ground.”

“I don’t think so,” Heather shook her head at him reaching out to pull a drink off of a waiter’s tray. She stepped forward dumping it over his head before walking away from him, “Consider us even.”

Chris watched her walk away seeing the stomp in her stride now that she was angry at him. She was full of fire and venom and he couldn’t help but find her incredibly sexy. He shook his head sending liquid flying around the bar as people stared at him stunned.

“Yeah, I think she likes me too,” Chris announced patting the waiter on the shoulder before walking out of the bar in the hopes of regrouping after the alcohol shower Heather had given him. This was an unexpected twist to say the least. As he moved through the lobby, he caught the stares he was getting from the other hotel guests. One woman in particular seemed to be unable to refrain from watching him. He stopped mid-movement before motioning to his head.

“It’s wet t-shirt night in the bar. Drinks are on the house, but be warned, it gets pretty intense in there. The bartender, well he‘s got bad aim, but you get used to it,” he finished ducking into the elevators knowing full well that he had made some ground with Heather, then lost it, but hey it was all about the recovery. He’d find a way to spin this on a positive--eventually.


“Sorry about earlier,” Kyle frowned as he walked up the steps to Sarah’s house slowly, “I was kind of feeling bad. I didn’t mean to yell at you.”

“It’s okay,” Sarah assured Kyle as she helped him inside, “I know how you are feeling and I wasn’t bothered by it.”

“I know, I just kind of felt bad about it,” Kyle replied walking over towards her couch to take a seat, “It feels good to be out of that hospital.”

“It may feel good for you,” Sarah began, taking a seat next to him, “I just don’t know if they made a right decision when they let you out. You still seem like you are a little weak and like you are still feeling a little bad.”

“You think I am weak?” he questioned, grabbing her hand and pulling her to his chest tightly. “Still weak?”

“Okay, forget the weak part,” Sarah smirked as she looked up at his dark eyes, “You just don’t look like you are feeling a hundred percent. I don’t want anything to happen to you.”

“Nothing is going to happen,” Kyle promised with a small smile, “You’re right, I don’t feel a hundred percent. I feel a hundred and ten percent.”

“You are such a bad liar,” she laughed as he shrugged his shoulders, “Remember, I’ve known you my whole life, I think I can pretty much see right through you these days.”

“Alright, so I was lying,” Kyle shrugged with a small smiled, “But at least you still love me, but I really don’t think you can see right through me.”

“You’re like a window Kyle,” Sarah stated with a small smile as she looked up at him. “I can see right through you perfectly.”

“Right,” Kyle nodded slowly, thinking for a moment, “So, tell me…what am I think right now?”

“I said I could see right through you,” Sarah smirked with a small shrug, “I didn’t say I could read your mind, but if I had to guess--I would say that you are thinking that you are really tired and you would like some rest right about now.”

“You’re far from it,” Kyle replied with a tiny smile, wrapping his arm tightly around her shoulders, “I am actually thinking about the total opposite from that. I was actually thinking that we should probably start practicing for that baby in the future.”

“What do you mean by that?” she tensed her eyebrows as he arched his eyebrow at her.

“I think you know exactly what I am talking about,” Kyle pulled her into his lap before crushing her in towards him.

“I don’t think this is really good for you right now,” Sarah protested with a small frown as he ran his hands up her back slowly, “You just got out of the hospital and you could still get hurt Kyle.”

“I’ll be fine,” Kyle hushed, pulling her into a heated kiss, running one of his hands through her blonde hair slowly, “I don’t really think you have anything to worry about.”

“I guess I could trust you,” she decided as she reached her fingers underneath his shirt, brushing her fingertips up against his heated skin.

“You can trust me really well,” Kyle assured her as he pulled her forward into another kiss. He just wanted to forget what was happening in the world around him--he just wanted to be with Sarah right now.

He felt her grab the bottom of his shirt before pulling it over his head. As her lips brushed up against his again, he felt a tight pain in his head as a sudden flash passed through his memory.

“Don’t worry Kyle, everything is going to be okay,” Susan’s voice echoed through his head as he tried to see clearly, but everything was blurry around him, “I know that we’ve wanted this for so long. Now we can finally be together.”

“What’s going on?” Kyle questioned, a fierce pain piercing through his head as he tried to see what was happened. “Why can’t I see anything? What have you done to me?”

“It’s okay,” Susan hushed him, placing a kiss above his lips as he tried to push her away, but he wasn’t strong enough to do so. His body was too weak to make any attempt at moving. “Kyle, just let it happen. You know you want to be with me.”

“What are you doing?” Kyle questioned as he felt her begin to pull at his clothing. “Susan…stop.”

“Stop,” Kyle yelled, turning away from Sarah as he rubbed his forehead slowly. Why was this coming back to him now? Of all times. “Sorry, I just have a headache.”

“It’s okay,” Sarah whispered, squeezing his bare shoulder lightly, “I knew you still weren’t feeling good, I’ll just go get you some water or something.”

“No, don’t,” Kyle frowned, pulling her back down to him as he kissed her slowly, “I’m better now.”

“Kyle, I don’t,” she began to speak before he placed his index finger over hers lips.

“I’m okay, don’t worry,” he smirked, leaning her back onto the couch as he got above her slowly, “I’ll be just fine.”

“If you say so,” she shrugged as he began to kiss her again. Something was wrong, she could tell something was up with the way Kyle was acting.

“God,” Kyle grunted as he pulled away and closed his eyes shut tightly in pain. Another memory was coming back into his mind as he closed his eyes.

“Kyle, I just need to take a sample and…” Diego tried to explain in a cool and even voice, but there was no reasoning with Kyle as he took one heavy, thunderous stride where Diego stood. He reached out and clasped his hand around Diego’s neck immediately choking him.

“Kyle, what are you doing?” Sarah cried out watching Kyle pull Diego up off of the ground as his hold on Diego’s neck tightened. “Kyle stop!”

“You’re not going to manipulate me!” Kyle shouted at Diego, his voice coming out as a loud, vibrating hiss, “I know what you’re trying to do to me you son of a bitch and I’ll kill you before I let it happen!”

“Kyle stop!” Sarah rushed in behind him reaching out to try to stop him from choking the life out of Diego.

“Kyle please…” Diego coughed bringing his hands out over Kyle’s grip on him. He strained to tear Kyle’s fingers away from his neck, but whatever it was that was running through Kyle’s system right about now had him on full attack. With each passing second Kyle’s grip on Diego’s neck constricted, his fingers crunching down on Diego’s neck and Diego started to feel a bit lightheaded.

“Kyle put him down!” Sarah shouted tugging with all that she had in her to get him to stop. She strained to pull on his arm, but was only met by the impact of his elbow right into her as she went flying across the room.

“Kyle stop--please…” Diego begged of him in a low, tight whisper as Kyle heard a crashing sound beside him. He turned his eyes towards the source of the sound and saw Sarah huddled up on the floor.

“Kyle?” Sarah reached out to touch him as he pulled away from her and fell to the ground. “Kyle, are you okay?”

“Just stay away from me right now,” Kyle leaned up against the couch as she stood up, “I have this really bad feeling in my head right now.”

“Do you need anything?” Sarah questioned as Kyle shook his head slowly. “Are you hungry? I can go make you something.”

“I’m not hungry,” Kyle snapped shaking his head slowly, “I don’t need a thing right now. I just want to be left alone, okay?”

“Alright,” Sarah shrugged sitting back down on the couch before grabbing the remote to turn on the television, “How about some TV?”

“Whatever,” Kyle shrugged, rubbing the back of his neck slowly. He looked up to see Susan’s picture on the screen on the news channel. Quickly, Sarah turned the channel off before he held his hand up in the air. “Turn that back on, I want to see it.”

“Kyle, you don’t need to see that,” Sarah sighed as he shook his head slowly and looked back at her.

“Put it back on Sarah,” Kyle demanded as she changed the channel back on. He had to know what was going on with her right now and what the news was.


“That was incredible,” Avery sighed snuggling into Brant underneath the sheets. She felt his arm snake around her waist as he leaned his head in over her shoulder.

“What did I tell you,” he whispered in her ear placing a small kiss underneath her earlobe, “I told you that this would beat breakfast in bed.”

“And it did in so many ways,” Avery tilted her head back to look at him, her smile widening at the memory of all the new tricks and temptations Brant had given her once they’d gotten home. “It was a very eye opening experience.”

“And I’m not nearly finished with you yet,” Brant nudged her in closer to him spinning her in his arms. His lips captured hers greedily as his hand roamed over her body taking the time to devour the curves that he’d grown so fond of.

“Hmm, and here I thought you’d given me all that you had,” Avery wrapped her arms around his shoulders, teasing her nails down over his back. She leaned in to nip at his lower lip with a low growl playing it up for all it was worth. “I can’t wait to see what new trick you pull out of your hat.”

“Baby, I haven’t even warmed up yet,” Brant promised her taking her into his arms and rolling her on top of him. He felt her hair tickle over his chest in the movement and as her laughter hit him with a sudden warmth, he heard another sound fill the bedroom.

“And so the search is on for Susan Hastings, whose list of crimes not only include drugging and sexual battery, but now kidnapping as well as Ms. Hastings is now a prime suspect in the Jade Alexander disappearance…” the news reporter blurted out through the bedroom.

“Oh my God,” Avery gasped turning her attention to the television set. She slid off of Brant settling in over the sheet as she searched for the remote. Upon locating it, she turned up the volume.

“Authorities believe the stage was set for revenge when Hastings grew jealous of Ms. Alexander’s relationship with her ex-husband so much so that things escalated to a kidnapping,” the announcer explained until the scene changed to an officer outside of Susan’s apartment explaining what they believed to have found.

“I don’t believe this. All this time we thought it was Cameron and now Susan is…” Avery shook her head climbing out of bed.”

“Hey, where are you going?” Brant frowned watching her shuffle around the room.

“I have to call Grady. He needs to know about this if he hasn’t seen the news already,” Avery explained bending down to pick up her purse.

“But I thought that we were still…” Brant threw his hands up in the air watching his wife pull out her cell phone.

She started to dial when she realized the power was off.

“What in the,” she frowned turning it on again before trying to call Grady. It rang and rang with no answer. “Grady where are you?”

“Avery, he’s probably with the police trying to figure this out. You know Grady,” Brant tried to reason with her as she left Grady a voice mail.

“Brant this isn’t like him not to answer. I would’ve thought that he’d tell me if they heard any news. I don‘t see why he wouldn‘t have called me,” she hung up the phone ready to call again when she noticed a flashing on the display.

“Um Avery, honey,” Brant began uneasily having a bad feeling about all of this, “Um why don’t you get back into bed? I’m sure Grady will keep you updated if he…”

“Brant, this is just so unlike him not to…” she started pressing a button that alerted her to the fact that Grady had called her--repeatedly. Frowning she called her voice mail listening to the message Grady left her about finding out a tip about Susan and Jade. She hung up trying to remember if she’d turned off her phone.

No, she’d been extra careful to leave it on after they’d left the hospital. With everything that had been happening, she’d wanted a direct line to the outside world just in case…realization dawned in on her.

“Brant…” Avery spun around to face him seeing the guilty expression on his face.

“Avery, I can explain. I can totally explain this one,” Brant began in his own defense, but judging by his wife’s expression, he had a feeling that there was about to be hell to pay.


“Are we almost there?” Grady questioned eagerly as he tapped his fingers along the dashboard of the car lightly. “Julian, come on. We have to hurry up.”

“Grady, it’s just around the corner,” Julian pointed out with a small smirk, “I am going as fast as I can go. I don’t think I can go much faster.”

“Well, come on Julian,” Grady groaned shaking his head slowly as he thought about the possibilities of what could be happening, “We can find her there Julian.”

“Oh my god,” Julian gasped as he pulled up and saw the warehouse that should be fine, going up in flames.

“This can’t be happening,” Grady quickly got out of the car, running towards the building that already had firemen in front of it, trying to put out the fire.

“Grady wait,” Julian tried to get out of the car fast enough to catch up with him, but Grady was already too far ahead of him. “Grady.”

“Sir, stop,” a fireman held Grady back as he tried to get through and towards the building, “We have people in there right now.”

“I have to get inside of there,” Grady stated as he tried to get past the man before him, “Let me in there, I have to know.”

“I can’t let you in there,” the fireman replied with a small frown, shaking his head slowly, “I’m sorry.”

“Grady, what’s happening?” Julian wondered, finally reaching Grady as he looked up at the building going in flames, “Oh my.”

“Oh my is right,” Grady snapped shaking his head slowly, “Mr. Hero over here won’t let me in there either. I have to find her Julian--I have to.”

“Don’t worry,” Julian hushed, grabbing Grady’s shoulder as another fire seemed to burst, “The firemen are doing the best they can.”


...to be continued...