Episode 234

“Kayla honey,” Carly patted her daughter on the shoulder, her eyes shooting daggers over at Deidra, “Why don’t you take the things we bought into your room? I’ll be there to play with you in a moment.”

“Okay mommy,” Kayla replied with a simple shrug of her shoulders clearly unaware of the tension in the room between the adults. She shuffled down the hallway rushing into the bedroom before Carly turned to Deidra eyeing her expectantly.

“So what are you doing here?” Carly demanded taking a step forward.

“Deidra came over to see me and…” Dave began clearing his throat uneasily.

“I can see that and she looks a bit comfortable,” Carly’s eyes narrowed at her leaving no mistake about her feelings towards Deidra.

“Dave was just helping me with something and,” Deidra paused looking to Dave, “I didn’t realize that Carly was staying here with you.”

“Well why wouldn’t I be? I mean it only seems appropriate considering that Dave and I have a child together,” Carly scowled over at her, “Unless of course he failed to mention that to you with all the hugging going on, which by the way I don’t really appreciate our daughter seeing I might add.”

“Daughter,” Deidra blinked back at her before turning to Dave, “What is she talking about?”

“That little girl I just walked in with--the one that you completely ignored while you were groping her daddy--that is who I am talking about,” Carly’s voice raised with clear anger, “Kayla doesn’t need to come home to this Dave.”

“Carly, it’s not what it…” Dave cleared his throat uneasily hoping to explain the simple misunderstanding.

“You don’t have to explain yourself to her,” Deidra cut him off abruptly. “Look Carly, I don’t know what the hell your problem is, but I don’t need to listen to it and neither does Dave. What we do is none of your business considering that…”

“That what? That my daughter comes home to see her daddy with his arms around another woman? You think that’s something that she should have to face?” Carly scowled back at her, “Please Deidra just because that seems to be the norm in your family doesn’t mean that we want it in ours. Maybe you and Andy had some open ended relationship, but right here with us…”

“Why you,” Deidra lunged in towards her unable to contain herself at the mention of Andy. Her anger and frustrations mounted and Dave stepped in to tear the two women apart from one another.

“Um hello, do I have to remind you both that Kayla is here,” Dave pushed them gently away from one another before they could cause any real damage to the other one. “This is the last thing she needs to see.”

“No, the last thing she needs to see is her causing a scene in our home,” Carly wrinkled her nose at Deidra before moving down the hallway in search of Kayla.

The sound of the door closing filled the room as Deidra eyed Dave suspiciously.

“Please tell me that you aren’t stupid enough to have her living with you,” Deidra begged of him, “That she’s not someone that you’re seeing…”

“I’m more than seeing her Dee. She’s telling you the truth,” Dave explained matter of fact, “Kayla is my daughter. Carly and I are her parents…”

“Gee and you just learned about that now?” Deidra replied doubtful, “Don’t you think that’s something that she maybe should’ve sort of mentioned oh I don’t know a few years ago? How do you know she’s even telling you the truth?”

“Because I just know,” Dave snapped back at her feeling a sudden discomfort in the room around him.

“How? Did you have a paternity test or something? Knowing Carly she’s probably lying and…” Deidra started to rant.

“Dee, I love her and not that it’s any of your business, but yes I know for a fact that she’s mine. Kayla is my daughter and regardless of what you might think of Carly, I’m going to have to ask you to let this go. They are my family and I’d really rather you just stop before this gets ugly.”

“Ugly?” she blinked back at him, “Dave, that woman broke your heart so why in the world would you want her back?”

“Like I said Deidra, it’s none of your business,” he repeated not wanting to get into anything further about the subject.

“Yet you want to know everything there is to know about Dean and I,” she grumbled in response folding her arms in front of her chest, “that’s certainly a double standard isn’t it?”

“Drop it Deidra,” he began again not wanting to fight over this with her.

“Fine, but when this blows up in your face, don’t say I didn’t warn you,” she frowned reaching for her purse and heading towards the door.

“Deidra…” Dave spoke her name, but she continued to walk out leaving him to realize that he was in a tight place for the time being. He watched the front door for a moment before looking down the hallway. While he wanted Deidra to understand and let him give her a chance to hear the whole story, he knew full well that Carly wasn’t happy either and right now he belonged with his family. Unfortunately speaking to Deidra about it was going to have to wait.


“You can explain!” Avery repeated with a squeal unable to believe what she’d just realized about her husband’s deception. The obvious conclusion she’d drawn from missing Grady’s call was that somehow Brant must’ve shut it off when she’d gone in the restaurant. Now looking at his guilty brown eyes, she could see that her instincts were dead on.

“Avery, I was trying to give you a break for a change,” Brant admitted readily, moving out from underneath the sheet in an attempt to get closer to her, “I know how much stress you’ve been under and the last thing either one of us needed tonight was to go running off on yet another wild goose chase.”

“So you thought that you’d just turn my phone off and make that decision for me?” Avery questioned with a huff, “I mean is that what this big seduction was about? Keeping me from checking my messages?”

“When I saw that Grady was calling, I knew that he’d probably have something he was getting all worked up about, but knowing how Grady is, I figured he was fine. I had no idea that it was about that,” he motioned to the television screen, “I just figured that you and I have been doing above and beyond the norm for people like us and that maybe just maybe we should take the time to rest for a change.”

“Rest?” she repeated with a glare, “Brant, you weren’t thinking about resting. You were thinking about not letting me talk to Grady.”

“Look Avery I’m sorry. When he called I didn’t know it would be about something like this. It’s just that it seems like more and more he’s got something popping up and you’re finding time to just take it easy less and less…” he started in his own defense hoping that she would relax, but anger flared in her features.

“You had no right to shut off my phone and make that kind of assumption without consulting me. So when did you shut it off exactly? When I was in the restaurant or right before we made love?” she questioned harshly, “because heaven knows you didn’t want Grady to get in the way of that, now did you?”

“Avery, that’s not why I shut off the phone. For God’s sake I was trying to think about you and your daughter,” Brant remarked with a heavy sigh, “I knew that the last thing you should be doing is getting yourself wrapped up in stress and…”

“I don’t believe that. I don’t believe for a second that you were thinking about my daughter. We both know this was about your not liking my being there for Grady,” Avery snapped at him, taking a step forward, “It bothers you that I’m close to him and you’re going to do just about anything to keep me away from him, aren’t you?”

“Avery, I said I was sorry. I didn’t know what he wanted was important,” he threw his hands out in the air, “I’m not a psychic.”

“Yet you felt fitting enough to play God and second guess what my decisions should be, didn’t you?” she folded her arms in front of her chest.

“No I was thinking about all the stress you’ve been under--about all of the things that have been happening between my family and Bruce and even Grady. I know what you’ve been through and I’m also well aware of the importance of trying to take it easy during pregnancy,” Brant informed her point blank, “Given what you’d gone through in your previous miscarriage, I would’ve thought that you’d put your daughter’s life into perspective and make it a priority so that you didn’t suffer the same fate this time around.”

“I haven’t done anything to endanger my daughter’s life and I highly resent your implying that I have,” Avery’s anger poured out from inside of her, “I’ve been careful and…”

“Careless is more like it. You almost got yourself killed the other day when Bruce ran you off the road and then when you and Grady came up with the half-cocked idea to go in and manipulate Cameron, you can’t tell me that you didn’t feel like you were putting yourself on the line,” Brant challenged with a scowl.

“I didn’t. I was…” Avery argued back.

“Unnecessarily risking yourself and your daughter in another one of Grady’s lame brained schemes. You could’ve been hurt or worse, yet you were willing to put yourself out on the line as bait in the name of helping Grady. That’s so wrong Avery,” he shook his head at her, “In fact, what would Russ think if he saw you gambling with your daughter’s future like this? I don’t think he’d want you to keep diving in deeper to danger like this over Grady, when it’s obvious that Grady can take care of himself.”

“I don’t believe this,” Avery threw her hands in the air marching over to the closet to grab her robe, “I can’t believe you of all people are criticizing me like this. Russ would know that I wasn’t endangering my daughter and you should know that too.”

“What I know is that when Grady says jump, you’re ready to ask how high without thinking about what comes next. You’re being reckless and stupid and I didn’t want it to wind up costing you in the long run,” Brant followed after her, “Russ would never forgive me if I let anything happen to his daughter.”

“Russ wouldn’t forgive you if he knew you were sleeping with his wife either, now would he?” Avery tossed back at him sharply, “He wouldn’t be happy with any of this if you want to get to the point. You’re the last man he wanted me to end up with and now I’m starting to see why.”

“What is that supposed to mean,” Brant followed her into the closet.

“You’re jealous and overbearing and you have little to no faith in me,” Avery shouted back at him, “You accuse me of putting my daughter’s life on the line, but I was doing what I had to do.”

“You didn’t have to do any of this. Face it Avery, it’s what you wanted to do and right now you still would rather run to Grady then be here with me your husband,” he accused reaching out to grab her. He pulled her closer to him, “Honestly how would Russ feel to know that you’re putting everything on the line for his brother? For a man who has treated you like you were less than dirt time and time again?”

“Russ wouldn’t expect anything less from me because Grady is family,” Avery answered sharply, her words hitting him full force as she pushed him out of her way. “You don’t abandon your family.”

“I’m not saying that…” Brant argued further. “All I’m telling you is that you needed to take a step back--you needed to rest and if you couldn’t do it for yourself, then I had to do what I needed to make it happen for you.”

“What you did was cold, calculating, overbearing and wrong on so many levels,” Avery tore her robe off of the hanger before sliding into it, “Believe it or not I help those who need me--those that I care about. I promised to Russ and to myself that I would help Grady find Jade and even if you don’t want to, that’s not going to stop me from honoring my promise.”

“Avery,” he spoke her name feeling her push past him back into the room, “Look this is stupid. We shouldn’t be fighting once again about Grady.”

“We’re not fighting about Grady. We’re fighting about you and what you did,” she spun around to face him icily, “You were the one who took it upon yourself to insult me and turn off my phone. You’re the one telling me that I’m not thinking about my child and that I’m some kind of horrible person because I care about those in my life that are important to me.”

“That’s not what I was saying. What I was trying to tell you is if you don’t slow down, then you’re going to run yourself ragged. When that happens it’s going to take it’s toll on you and it could be disastrous. Hell, look at what it’s been doing to us,” he threw his hands up in the air, “We used to like one another once upon a time if you can remember.”

“Yeah, well that’s before you became a pompous jerk who felt he needed to make decisions on my life without consulting me. This is all happening because you took it upon yourself to deem Grady’s phone call not worth my time,” Avery shot back with a glare, “This is all your fault.”

“Fine Avery,” he groaned in frustration, “What do you want me to do? Would you like me to take you to him so you can dote on his every need? Or are you hoping that I‘ll piss you off so royally that it‘ll give you a good excuse to go out and sleep with him? Is that the goal in all of this?”

“Brant, I’m not Heather. I’m not Shannon or any of the other women you’ve dated in the past. That’s not an issue and as far as I’m concerned I hadn’t thought about cheating on you. I’m not someone to go off and do that and the fact that you keep accusing me of it, makes me wonder how little you think of me.”

“It’s not you Avery. It’s Grady and his constant need to drag you out into one of his situations…”

“No Brant, this is about saving Jade, which was something that not so long ago was important to you when you were the one rescuing her,” Avery cut back sharply, “You know back in the day when you still had faith in me and our relationship--back when you saw Grady as a man who was trying to find the love of his life instead of trying to move in on yours.”

“Avery I just don’t think…” Brant started again.

“Brant, you know what it was like when you saved Jade from your father. You remember full well what happened to her at the hotel that night and how helpless you felt to see her in such a state,” she reminded him sourly, “and knowing that, how can you fault me for wanting to help Grady find her? How can you think about anything other than sparing her a fate similar to that one? How can you be so cold and inconsiderate to really believe that this is about you and me?”

“It’s becoming about you and me when Grady won’t let up on you,” Brant argued further, “I’ve seen it before time and time again. When someone gets bored in a relationship, they go off and find something else to…”

“Right now all I care about is finding Jade and bringing her home safely and if you’d stop acting like a jerk, you’d see that is what really counts. That’s what really matters and…” she started again ready to continue their argument when the television showed a building in flames.

Both Brant and Avery fell to silence as the news caster reported of how the building not only went up in smoke, but how the police believed that this was where Susan had been keeping Jade. They showed another clip of the building on fire and in that moment horror filled both of their faces. Avery turned to him, her face drained of all color as fear swept over her.

“Brant we have to get over there…We have to…” she began hearing the sounds of sirens on the television set.

He nodded down at her feeling a strange, sinking sensation at what they‘d just heard onscreen. Here he and Avery had been going at it like two siblings in a fight over a toy, but there at the warehouse disaster was eminent. It made things seem trivial in the moment and suddenly he felt guilt ride over him for the way he‘d lashed out at her, “I know. I’ll go get the keys.”

“I’ll get dressed,” Avery replied knowing that while she and Brant were far from finished with their conversation over what he’d done, the fact remained that they both needed to be there for Grady. She just prayed that the news report was wrong and that it wasn’t too late for Jade.


“Tell me something,” Seth sighed tilting his head up to look at Blake as he lay in her lap on his couch.

“What’s that?” she asked running her fingers through his dark hair gingerly.

“Is it ever going to end? I mean honestly I feel like we’ve been on one roller coaster ride after another lately,” Seth replied seeing Blake’s eyes darken for a moment.

“At one point in time I honestly thought that things would perk up, but now, well now your guess is good as mine. With things happening with my family, then with Jade and now Valerie…” Blake shook her head, “I think we’re a walking target for chaos these days.”

“It sure feels like it doesn’t it,” Seth moaned inwardly shaking his head, “You know I keep waiting for someone to just pull out the camera and say just kidding.”

“You mean like they used to do on that silly television show,” she questioned feeling the warmth of him over her.

“Sounds stupid, doesn’t it?” he sighed again, “I mean I keep waiting for Jade to walk right through those doors and be fine--for everything to be okay again, but now…”

“Things are going to be okay. Sooner or later they have to be,” Blake tried to assure him as she too wondered if the ‘normal life’ would ever factor into their situations. Then again, what was normal really? Surely, it couldn’t be kidnappings and near death experiences all over the place, could it?

“So what do you say?” Seth broke through her thoughts, “Would you like me to stop whining now or later because I’m more than ready to comply with your wishes to just have me shut up.”

“Seth, you know that’s not what I’m thinking,” Blake paused shaking her head after a moment’s contemplation, “I guess it’s just lately I’ve realized that life and time is so precious that we have to make the most of it. We have to hold onto what we have and hope that fate doesn’t tear it away from us. As horrible as it sounds, it seems like it’s our only chance of making it through all of this nightmare…”

“It’s just when I think about Jade,” Seth shook his head, “Blake, I have this horrible, sinking feeling that there’s more happening than I thought before. I mean I don’t want to give up hope and I’ll keep fighting to find her, yet, deep down I can’t help but wonder why there was no ransom demand--why no one has come forward with information and…”

“I don’t know Seth. I wish I did, but…” Blake started hearing something from across the room where the abandoned television played a news report. While they’d been trying to watch a silly game show earlier, they’d kind of lost track of it and fell into a pensive moment. Now however there was no ignoring what was on the screen as a picture of Jade flashed before the both of them.

“What in the…” Seth sat upright shuffling to reach for the remote when the story continued to talk about Jade’s kidnapping.

The story shifted from talk about Cameron’s time in jail to a new lead describing Susan’s downward spiral leading to what authorities believed to be her ultimate undoing. It showed before them images of a burning building--of flames licking up over the outer walls of a place downtown that had been abandoned for some time. Just when it seemed it couldn’t get worse, the woman with the overly enthusiastic voice explained that authorities believed Jade was locked inside.

“Oh my God,” Blake gasped turning to look at Seth. She saw the horror on his face. She watched him walk over to seek out his keys. She spotted them first grabbing them in her hand before motioning to him. “Come on let’s go.”

“I hope they’re wrong,” Seth replied shakily fearing for his sister’s life. In this moment he found himself praying for a miracle more than anything else in this world. He couldn’t lose her. Not like this!


“Why is it taking so long Julian?” Grady questioned, looking at the fire that had grown at least two times as much since he had been there. “They should be out by now.”

“They are doing their best,” Julian assured Grady, squeezing his shoulder lightly, “I’m sure everything is going to be okay.”

“None of us are sure of anything,” Grady pointed out, taking a step forward to catch one of the police officers attention, “Excuse me sir. Do you know what’s going on in there? Did they find anyone?”

“I’m not sure,” the officer shrugged covering his face as another window burst and the fire burst out, “All I do know is--that fire is getting even worse by the second.”

“I have to get in there,” Grady gritted his teeth as Julian held onto the collar of his shirt to hold him back. The officer shook his head slowly before taking one last look at the building.

“Son, no one is going to be getting in there,” the officer sighed before walking off leaving an aggravated Grady behind.

“They aren’t doing a thing,” Grady snapped, pulling away from Julian, “I don’t get these people. They can’t even do their jobs right. If it was me, I would have gone in there and I would have been out in a matter of minutes.”

“It’s harder than it looks Grady,” Julian hushed as he saw Grady’s eyes drifting over the burning building before them.

“Grady,” someone called out his name, making him turn around to see Kyle quickly walking up towards him and Sarah was following not far behind. “What’s going on man?”

“We had evidence that Jade could have been in there,” Grady stated, shaking his head slowly, “These people won’t even tell me if they found anyone or anything. They won’t let anybody in there.”

“This is ridiculous,” Kyle frowned, looking around the scene before spotting Shannon, “Grady follow me. You two stay here.”

“Where are we going?” Grady questioned, following Kyle quickly before noticing they were walking towards Shannon. “Shannon? You think she could help us?”

“I know she can,” Kyle nodded, quickening his pace as Shannon began to walk the other way, “Shannon. Wait up.”

“Kyle, what are you doing here?” Shannon wondered as Kyle and Grady approached her quickly. “You two shouldn’t be here I hope you know.”

“I really don’t care,” Grady snapped, feeling Kyle’s hand grab onto his shoulder lightly, “We need to get in there.”

“Yeah, we need to get in there and find out if Jade is in there,” Kyle explained why they needed to get in as Shannon tensed her eyebrows at his explanation.

“Jade? Why would Jade be in there?” Shannon questioned as Kyle looked towards Grady who simply shrugged.

“Listen, it’s a long story,” Grady explained, shaking his head slowly, “We were at Susan’s and we found this map. We also found some things that led us to believe that Jade was locked up here. This is where Susan could have her hidden.”

“You’re being serious?” Shannon questioned seeing Kyle nod slowly. “That’s crazy--I really don’t know what’s going on in there. I don’t know if anyone was found.”

“I’m sure you are doing your job good Shannon, just like you always do,” Kyle began, nodding slowly, “About us getting in there.”

“It’s not going to happen,” Shannon answered quickly, shaking her head slowly, “I wish I could get you some quicker news, but no one is going to be getting in there.”

“Shannon come on,” Kyle begged, throwing his hands up in the air, “You know I can do this kind of stuff.”

“Nothing this big Kyle,” Shannon shook her head slowly, “Even people as skilled as they come might possibly not even get in there. I can’t risk anyone or anything.”

“Shannon,” Kyle began to protest as she shook her head again once more, “Come on Shannon.”

“No Kyle,” Shannon angrily answered as she saw Sarah and Julian approaching them, “Julian would you tell these two that going in that building would not only be ridiculous, but it would also be death risking.”

“You two can’t go in there,” Sarah pointed out as she looked between Kyle and Grady, “Are you two nuts? Look at that place, it’s crazy.”

“I think I’ve noticed what it looks like,” Grady snapped, throwing his hands up in the air, “Shannon, at least get some news on what’s going on here. I can’t stand not knowing what’s going on.”

“Time will tell,” Shannon hushed looking back, “Someone will inform me soon and then I will tell you what’s going on.”

“When is someone going to tell you?” Grady questioned angrily as Shannon shook her head slowly. “How could you not know?”

“Grady, she’s not the keeper of time,” Kyle hushed, squeezing Grady’s shoulder lightly, “Everything will be okay. We will know soon enough.”

“Soon enough isn’t fast enough Kyle,” Grady bit back another stupid comment before shaking his head slowly, “I don’t understand why this is happening.”


“I hope she will be okay,” Ria frowned, shutting the bedroom door that Trisha was in. The hospital had released her today and they brought her back to Ria’s place. “She still seems pretty shaken up.”

“She’ll be okay,” Kevin assured her with a small sigh, sitting down on the couch. “You should have a seat. You may feel a little bit better.”

“I’m sorry,” she apologized, taking a seat next to him as he turned to face her, “I’m just really worried about everything that could happen.”

“You have anything to be sorry about,” Kevin hushed, reaching out to push a strand of hair behind her ear lightly, “What else could you be worried about? Trisha is home and she is safe with us.”

“Well, I know,” Ria began, thinking for a long second before explaining her feelings, “It’s just--what if Bruce comes back to get her? To finish up the job he started?”

“That’s never going to happen,” Kevin promised, shaking his head slowly at her comment, “This Bruce guy will never get within an inch of her as long as I am here. I’ll be there to protect Trisha if necessary and I will have no problems killing this guy if he even thinks about trying it again.”

“I’m so glad you are here for us,” Ria sighed, leaning into Kevin as he hugged her tightly, “I don’t know what I would have done if you weren’t here.”

“I’ll be here for a while,” he assured her with a small frown before looking down at her, “So, about this Bruce guy--what’s his story.”

“He’s a nut case,” Ria answered quickly, biting down on her bottom lip. “You wouldn’t believe the type of sick maniac he is. He has murdered many women.”

“Sick freak,” Kevin closed his eyes as he thought to himself. How could someone just go and kill people like that? It was so wrong. “What else do you know about this jerk?”

“He was a doctor,” Ria nodded slowly, moving back away from Kevin slowly, “I worked with him and I never thought he would be as big of a freak that he is. I remember that he was even involved in a serious relationship with Avery Morrison. She didn’t even suspect that he was crazy. No one did.”

“Well how could you?” Kevin questioned, shrugging his shoulders. “When someone is that messed up in the head, they could make anyone believe something.”

“I know Kevin, but I worked with the guy each and every day,” Ria bit down on her lip, running her hand through her dark hair slowly, “I never thought anything of it. I never even had the slightest clue about him. He was like a closed book. No one could read what he was thinking.”

“No one would have concluded something like that,” Kevin nodded slowly, simply shrugging his shoulders, “But, if everyone knew this guy so well--how come they can’t find him? I mean, someone is bound to know more about this guy.”

“I really don’t know,” Ria frowned, letting her mind linger before trying to give him a simple answer, “I would have thought the same thing, but this guy is good. He disappears and it’s like he was never even there. He has done so many horrible things, including what he did to Trisha. In fact, there were only two other women that got out of his attempt to kill them--Avery Morrison and Deidra Byrne.”

“Well, all three of them are lucky,” Kyle pointed out, nodding slowly. It was good that at least three of them got away, that proved that this guy had some type of weakness. “I can promise you that this guy isn’t going to get another stab at Trisha. If the police can’t bring this lunatic down, then I’m sure I’ll have to find a way to do.”


“So where are we going?” Diego looked over to towards Cori who was driving. They had been in the car for a while and she still hadn’t told them what they weren’t doing. Of course, that was always Cori’s game--leaving you guessing until the end. Which was always kind of entertaining when it came down to it.

“You’ll see,” Cori winked, looking back towards the road, “All I can say is that this is going to be a different playing field for you.”

“Alright, this sounds way out of my ballgame,” Diego frowned, folding his arms out in front of his chest, “I thought we were going to go to dinner.”

“We are going to dinner,” she nodded slowly before simply shrugging her shoulders with a smug smile, “Just a little bit more is going to be involved.”

“A little bit more?” he questioned with a frown, arching an eyebrow at her. “What is a little bit more? Like dancing to jazz or something?”

“Not exactly,” Cori led him on before they pulled up into a parking lot and he looked up at the big sign, “So what do you think? Fun?”

“A line dancing, country western restaurant?” Diego questioned the tagline as Cori nodded slowly. “What are you up to Cori?”

“Oh, you’ll have fun,” Cori promised, getting out of the car quickly as he followed her, “You agreed with me that you needed to get away from Coral Valley for a while. Well, we are out of Coral Valley and we are bound to have some fun.”

“Right,” he nodded slowly before smirking, “So when do we eat?”

“Don’t worry about the food, you will be having too much fun to be in an eating mood,” Cori stated with a small laugh, “Anyway, this place doesn’t usually get a lot of people wanting to eat food.”

“I don’t like the sound of that,” he groaned as they took one step into the place and the country music was already blaring. “I still don’t like the sound of this whole thing.”

“Don’t be a loser Diego,” Cori sighed, pulling him forward, “Let’s see what fun stuff we can do. Oh, how about that?”

“The bull ride?” Diego questioned seeing her nod slowly as he eyed it over. It looked safe enough and--kind of fun. That was until he saw some guy fly off into the corner. “No, no way. There is no way I am going to break my back.”

“That guy was just lacking the skill,” she insured him as he shook his head slowly, “You will do fine.”

“Think of it this way--he is lacking skill and I have never done this before,” Diego informed her, biting back another gasp as someone else flew from the mechanical bull, “Which means my skills are ever worse than theirs. So in other words, no way.”

“You are such a party pooper,” Cori sighed looking around, “How about dancing? That isn’t going to kill you right?”

“Dancing sounds good,” Diego agreed, seeing her grab a cowboy hat and place it on his head, “What is this for?”

“Believe me, you’re going to need it,” she smirked, leading him towards the dance floor where many people were already dancing. “I hope you can dance good.”

“I think I can handle it,” he winked, twirling her on the dance floor once they got out, “No, I know I can handle it.”


“Deidra, hey,” Ben smiled, closing the door behind her as she entered their new house before he hugged her, “You didn’t get here in time for dinner. I hope you don’t mind. We saved some for you though.”

“Oh, it’s okay,” Deidra assured him with a small smile, shaking her head slowly, “I really don’t feel hungry anyways.”

“Deidra,” Diane smiled, walking up from behind Ben, “What are you doing here? Did Ben invite you here too?”

“Of course he did,” Deidra nodded slowly with a small smirk, “Being the perfect guy over here.”

“What can I say?” he questioned, shrugging his shoulders, “I am just a nice guy, but if you two will excuse me--I have to go clean up the rest of our mess with Judy. I’ll be right back.”

“I’ll miss you,” Diane smiled, giving him one quick kiss before he ran off towards the kitchen.

“He’s a real sweetheart,” Deidra pointed out seeing Diane nod slowly, “Pulling all this off for you must have taken a lot out of him. He is a really good guy I hope you know.”

“Believe me,” Diane nodded slowly, letting out a small smirk, “He is the sweetest and most wonderful man I have ever met in my life.”

“Now that I know you think that,” Deidra looked around the corner for Ben, shaking her head slowly, “Follow me.”

“What is it?” Diane wondered as Deidra pulled her into another room and looked back behind them before going back to talking .

“You two look pretty happy together,” Deidra pointed out seeing Diane nod slowly, “You wouldn’t want something to ruin that right?”

“Right,” Diane agreed, biting down on her bottom lip as she folded her arms out in front of her chest, “I don’t get where this is going.”

“Well, I am trying to make sound not as bad as it is,” Deidra began, taking in a deep breath, “But did you tell Ben about it yet?”

“Tell Ben about what?” Ben questioned, coming back from behind the two of them as Deidra looked back at him nervously. “What did she tell me?”


“You have such a beautiful house,” Valerie gushed accepting the glass of champagne that Cameron held out for her. Lifting it up to toast, she winked at him, “I’m truly amazed.”

“Wait until you see the bedroom,” Cameron grinned like the cat who ate the canary.

“I can’t wait,” Valerie reached out sliding her fingers out over Cameron’s shoulder and down his arm, “I’m sure it’s just another exquisite reflection of the man you truly are. A powerful force that’s lust for passion and intensity is limitless.”

“All that and more I can assure you,” Cameron gave Valerie a very long, appreciative once over.

JT couldn’t help but roll his eyes considering that he knew full well while Cameron was trying to be charming, Valerie would do nothing but suck him in for her own greedy agenda.

“I hope getting laid is worth the headache you’re going to have for the rest of your life if you’re stupid enough to get involved with her,” JT muttered under his breath lifting his beer to his lips to take a long swig.

“What?” Cameron questioned turning around to see his brother drinking. “What did you say?”

“I said, ‘It’s your wake‘. You do what you want, but this scene is getting kind of stale for me,” JT deposited his empty beer bottle neck down in the potted plant beside him, “So if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to call it a night while you two do…well, whatever sick and disgusting vile thing that’s on both of your minds.”

“You can’t leave yet,” Valerie curled her lip in a pout, “We still have dinner to do, don’t we?”

“That we do,” Cameron curled his arm around her waist possessively, “though if JT would like to leave I’m sure we can skip to dessert.”

“And forget about the party we have planned,” Thea’s voice rose through the hallway. She entered the room with a bright smile that soon faded when she saw Valerie on Cameron’s arm. She frowned, “I see I came just in the knick of time.”

“Thea,” Cameron greeted her with a small smile, “I was starting to think that you’d forgotten about me.”

“Not a chance. I just had a few things to take care of--things that we’d discussed,” Thea continued glaring over at Valerie.

“Hmm, well as much as I’d like to hear about them, I think business can wait for later. I’m much more in the mood for celebrating. What do you say Valerie? Care to see the bedroom?” Cameron grinned eagerly.

“Why Cameron,” Valerie leaned into him, pressing up against him in a shameless attempt to entice him, “I’d love to.”

Thea watched the exchange, her anger mounting by the moment. Turning around to face JT she curled her finger at him.

“Thea, how good to see you,” JT smiled down at her ready to offer up some witty words when she reached out to tug on the front of his shirt pulling him towards her.

“What the hell is this?” Thea demanded motioning to where Cameron and Valerie had seemingly walked off into the corner of the room still flirting shamelessly with one another.

“Cameron’s way of proving that he’s not into men after having had to shower with them for so very long,” JT shrugged his shoulders, “How the hell should I know?”

“You’re the one who brought her here, aren’t you?” she demanded once more.

“Unfortunately, but it wasn’t by choice,” JT motioned to Valerie as she began to finger the buttons on Cameron’s shirt. “Though I’m glad to see that she’s his problem now instead of mine.”

“I don’t believe this,” Thea spun around to watch Cameron dive in for a kiss. “He’s known her for what? Like an hour?”

“Give or take a few minutes,” JT shrugged seeing the anger bubbling over Thea, “but hey I wouldn’t worry about it. With Val I think every man gets a free test drive. It’s nothing to sweat over. With Cameron, I‘m sure he‘ll be bored with her or broke by sunrise.”

“I’m not about to let someone like her get in the way again especially not after I dealt with his last problem wife,” Thea curled her fists at her sides before speaking up again, “Cam, I really thought that you’d want to talk about the things we’d discussed.”

“It can wait Thea,” Cameron pulled himself away from the kiss again, “trust me on that. I promised Valerie the grand tour.”

“I’m sure she can get it later,” Thea tried to appeal to him once again only to watch Valerie tip up on her toes to whisper something in Cameron’s ear. His eyes seemed to light up and he nodded. Slipping his arm around Valerie’s waist, he held his finger up, “If you’d excuse us for a few minutes here…”

“But Cam…” Thea began watching him walk out with Valerie. She turned to JT with a glare, “This is all your fault.”

“My fault,” JT laughed loudly, “Oh that’s rich. Just because my brother is an idiot doesn’t mean you have to blame it on me. Sure, I’m to blame for a lot of things, but he did this one all on his own.”

“I just don’t think that,” she paused wanting nothing more than to tear Cameron’s latest play thing apart limb for limb, but instead another idea flickered in her mind. She stepped forward curling her finger over JT’s chest scratching lightly, “I suppose you’re right. You’ve been a bad boy, but this time, well I might find it in my heart to forgive you if you play nice…”

“Play nice,” JT repeated feeling her lean in closer to him. She tipped her head up, her dark eyes offering up an intensely intimate stare.

“That’s right JT,” she curled her arm around his body, squeezing him closer to her. “I can teach you a lot about playing nice and even more about playing naughty if you’d like.”

JT felt her grope at his bottom and he let out a pinched laugh. He leaned in closer to her, his breath spilling over her anger flushed features. He watched her lick her lips. She was sexy, he’d give her that, but he knew the song and dance with Thea. The proposal she was about to make wasn’t hard to figure out.

“So what do you say you and I find a way to have our own celebration JT?” she tossed out suggestively, “I’m sure that I won’t disappoint you.”

“So let me get this straight, you screw dear old dad to get Cameron jealous and now it’s my turn,” JT paused catching a flicker behind her eyes at his comment. Still she clung to him, her hand dropping down over the back of his pants. He took in a slow breath before detangling himself from her arms, “Um, how do I put this? Thanks but no thanks. I’m leaving this party as I’m sure there’s a better one elsewhere. Ta.”

“JT,” Thea scowled watching him turn around and walk out of the mansion without even taking the time to look back. For moments she stood alone in the center of the dining room, her anger haunting her, nagging at her insides until she’d decided she’d finally had enough.

Marching out into the hallway, she found herself met by the soft sighs coming from down the hall. Her eyes narrowed as she witnessed Valerie and Cameron in the corner of the hallway. Cameron’s shirt was half open and Valerie was standing in front of him, her blouse discarded on the floor shamelessly. They were wrapped up in one another forgetting all about the company in the other room. Well, Thea wasn’t about to have any of that. Boldly she marched up to the duo clearing her throat loudly.

“Cameron,” Thea spoke his name sternly, “I really think that it’s about time for you to put an end to this party. We have things to discuss.”

“What?” Cameron questioned nudging on Valerie’s shoulders a bit. She dropped down to her knees opening his belt buckle. His fingers slid into her hair encouragingly.

“I said I think it’s time to put the party to an end,” Thea balked back with complete and utter disgust.

“Hmm,” Cameron’s ponderings vibrated over his lips as he looked down to Valerie, “perhaps you’re right.”

“I know I’m right,” Thea folded her arms in front of her chest watching Cameron instruct Valerie to stand up once more. She felt a smile ticking over the corners of her lips feeling herself on the verge of victory, but in that moment of glory it was stolen from her with Cameron’s words.

“You make a good point Thea. The party is certainly over,” he replied with a nod directing his attention to Valerie, “Let’s take this upstairs because I’m certain the bedroom will be far more accommodating.”

“But…” Thea stared at him blankly.

“We’ll see you later Thea,” Cameron waved to her before going up to his bedroom with Valerie and leaving Thea with one more reason to want to strangle Cameron’s latest object of lust.


Richard walked into the hospital room only to discover Brooke ordering around the nurses in the room. She snapped at them when she thought they weren’t doing what she’d asked in moving her flowers around. She waved her finger at them wildly ready to snap at them when she finally looked up to see Richard.

“Darling,” Brooke smiled at him, forgetting about how the nurse in front of her hadn’t positioned her flowers the way she’d wanted them, “I knew you would be here. I have wonderful news.”

“Guy told me that you’ve twisted your doctor’s arm into releasing you,” Richard nodded moving in closer to her, “Are you sure you’re up to that?”

“Given what I’ve been going through, I think being in here is the last place for me,” she confessed reaching out for his hand. She squeezed it gently before speaking up again, “I have hated being stuck here when I feel like I should be doing more. I should be out there…”

“Brooke, you need to concentrate on getting better--on healing and on dealing with the situation we’ve all come upon,” Richard replied taking a seat beside her on the bed. “Your health should come first and while I know you have the company you’re worried about--that you have a great many things you would like to get on top of, well the truth to the matter is that you can’t push yourself too hard or too fast. That isn’t going to help your situation at all. We both know that.”

“What I know is that I don’t want to be here in this hospital feeling like an invalid,” she argued with him a frown touching over her lips, “I’ve been wanting to get out of here--wanting to go somewhere that I feel like I’m making some kind of progress. In this hospital I kind of feel like I’ve reached a standstill and I can’t bear the thought of that. The doctors have informed me that there is nothing more that they can do for me, so I want to get out of here. You can’t blame me for feeling that way.”

“No,” he sighed, “I can’t and I had the feeling that sooner or later you would want something else.”

“I do,” she nodded encouragingly, “Richard, you have no idea how much time this has given me to think about things--to think about my life and the direction it was taking. I know I’ve made a lot of mistakes, but I hope that I can work on fixing them. I hope that when this is all said and done that we can find a way to fix our family again.”

“Brooke I…” he started uneasily.

“I know you must hate me, but darling even though I’ve been cruel a part of me has always loved you. With all that I am, you’re the only man I’ve ever truly loved and I know if we give us one more try to make it work that we can overcome anything together. You’ve been patient and understanding and so supportive…” Brooke began with tearful eyes.

“And I’m going to continue to be supportive because I want to help you any way that I can,” he admitted honestly, “I hate to see you like this and I want for you to find a way to pull your life together again.”

“I know we can do that together,” she replied with a small smile, “When we get back to the mansion we can find a way to even things out in our family with Avery and Guy and…”

“Brooke,” he interrupted uneasily, “I thought guy explained to you that we’re not going to the mansion.”

“What?” she blinked back with wide eyes, “But I thought that you’d talked to Avery and that you’d smooth this over since she listens to you about everything.”

“Right now Avery’s got a lot on her plate and she can’t be worried about what could happen should you move into the mansion. With Bruce back in town it’s a safety risk and…” he explained to her with a sigh, “Brooke, I can’t just leave you at the mansion like that unattended. It’s not safe.”

She opened her mouth to speak again thinking about how desperately she wanted to get back to the Ashford mansion, yet seeing the worry behind Richard’s eyes she knew just what she needed to do. Finally she let out a sigh.

“You’re right. You’re absolutely right,” she finally agreed, “That man is a monster and I wouldn’t be safe over there with him on the loose. With my not being able to use my legs, I’m sure that I will be a sitting target for him. To think about all the things he did to me when he kidnapped me…”

“He’s not going to get that opportunity to do that again,” Richard promised her offering a supportive squeeze over her fingers, “I’ve made sure of it.”

“You have?” she replied with curious eyes.

“Yes, I have,” he nodded, “this afternoon when you’re released I’ve made special arrangements to have you taken to a place where he can’t hurt you. The FBI and I have agreed that by moving you to Towering Pines that you’ll not only have security surrounding you, but…”

“Towering Pines?” she repeated with a huff, “Richard, that’s a nursing home.”

“No Brooke, it’s not just a nursing home. It’s more than that. It’s a place where they have specialists in house to take care of you and…” he offered up gently.

“And what? I’m your wife and you’re just going to dump me off at some nursing home?” she squealed horrified, “I don’t believe this. Is this some kind of sick joke?”

“I can’t take you back to the hotel with me Brooke. It would never be accommodating to your needs nor am I doctor. I know there are specialists at Towering Pines that can help you and…”

“There is no way that you’re going to send me to one of those places,” she squealed angrily. “I’m your wife.”

“I realize that and as your husband I know that I can’t give you what you need right now. I’m working on finding a place to stay at--a place for you other than at Towering Pines, but right now with Bruce on the loose, well it’s the best option. I’ve had my contacts at the FBI post a guard outside your suite and the doctors are flying in from the west coast this afternoon to…”

“No!” Brooke squealed reaching out for the vase of flowers and tossing it at him bitterly, “I’m not going to let you walk out of this marriage. I’m not about to let you dump me Richard. You’re not going to just pawn me off on someone else when you’re the one who should be with me.”

“I will be with you, but…” he started as a nurse walked in.

“Listen to me you son of a bitch. You’re not going to get away with trying to put me in some home. I won’t hear of it!” Brooke’s voice grew louder, “You’re not going to get rid of me that easily. If you think that you can just do something like this, then you’re wrong. You’re dead wrong. I’ll kill you before I let you do this to me! You and Avery are plotting against me. You’re trying to make me suffer, but I won’t hear of it. You’re not going to…” Brooke charged back at him.

“Mrs. Morrison, you need to calm down,” the nurse tried to appeal to her only to be backhanded by Brooke in the process.

“Back off bitch,” Brooke snarled at the woman clearly overcome by the madness of the moment.

“Brooke please…” Richard tried to appeal to her once more, but it was too late. There was no stopping the rage that burned inside of her. She lashed out at him wickedly, leaving out no thought of how she felt he was abusing her and in that moment he saw the woman he’d tried to tolerate for so many years coming apart at the seams.

“Brooke, I’m not trying to hurt you,” Richard began again watching her struggle with the nurse who had now picked herself up off of the floor. The woman quickly injected her with a sedative in the hopes of calming her down.

“You’re going to pay for this. All of you are going to pay,” Brooke replied groggily losing herself to the effects of the drug.

Richard looked to the small nurse standing before him, “Are you alright?”

“I’ve been better, been worse,” the woman explained rubbing at her jaw. “What about you?”

“About the same,” Richard replied looking to his wife and wondering what he was going to do. He’d had everything set with Towering Pines, but now after Brooke’s violent reaction to the news he was starting to have second thoughts. Was he doing the right thing in sending her there? At this point the just didn’t know.


“Having a hard day Augustus?” Annie questioned, taking a seat across from Augustus as he seemed to be thinking deeply. “Something seems to be bothering you.”

“I was just thinking about everything,” Augustus replied, thinking for a moment, “Just everything put together.”

“What’s on your mind?” Annie wondered, seeing him think for a second before resting his book down on the end table.

“Mainly about the family,” Augustus sighed, taking in a deep breath, “With Brant and all the problems he has been going through. Everything that has been going on with him has been hard on him, I know that. And with Ken, he never deserved any of this. Now his life is being turned completely around from what it once used to be.”

“That was none of our faults,” Annie pointed out see him nod slowly, “We love Ken, but he just kept pushing us away and no one knew what was going on. He wouldn’t let anyone in.”

“I know,” Augustus frowned, rubbing his chin slowly, “All I can think about is when he collapsed. I was just worried about him and if he was going to be okay.”

“Thank god he was,” Annie let out a sigh of relief, placing her hand over her chest, “I would have been so worried and upset if anything more happened to him.”

“It’s not only the boys though,” he took in a deep breath, thinking back to everything that was happening with Zoe. “Zoe has been upset lately and I have been worried about her. She just seems so pressured these days.”

“I figured that something was going on there,” she nodded slowly, folding her hands in her lap.

“Well, you see,” Augustus began, beginning to start the long story that had been unfolding over the years. “Zoe gave up her son when she was younger and she was going to put him up for adoption so he would be away from his father, but instead--his father was the one who ended up getting him. It’s a real complicated story.”

“I understand,” Annie thought for a moment, shaking her head slowly, “I can only imagine how she could feel. I mean, losing a child like that is very hard. It‘s never easy.”

“No it’s not,” Augustus agreed taking in a deep breath, “I’ve never gotten over losing Bradley.”

“I know,” Annie reached over to squeeze his hand gently, “I bet he would have made a great son.”

“He was supposed to be a relief to the family,” he let out a small smile as he thought about his son, “He was special. We didn’t think that we could have another baby, but we had him. From the first moment I held him in my arms--I felt like the world had stopped. I don’t understand what happened with him. He looked so healthy the first week. I don’t understand how he ended up being sick and passing. He was such a beautiful baby and I loved him with my whole heart.”

“He was so young,” Annie sighed, thinking back to when they had Bradley, “He was such a good baby.”

“You know, if he was still here with me,” he thought for a second, a small smile passing out of the corner of his mouth, “He would still be a very young man. He would be starting a family, kind of like Brant has.”

“The best thing is to not think about it Augustus,” Annie insisted, shaking her head slowly, “The less you think about it--the less it hurts.”

“It’s just something that I have had on my mind for years Annie,” Augustus sighed once more, “Even when I lost Nick I felt horrible. Sure, we didn’t get along as great as I wished, but I still loved my family. I always put my family first. That’s what I was trying to do when I made this deal with Heather--to keep her away from Brant and Avery.”

“Well, if you ask me,” Annie started, shrugging her shoulders, “I think Brant is pretty much good at holding his own. I think you have helped Heather enough, wouldn’t you agree.”

“I just don’t know,” Augustus pondered that question. Has he done enough to put it past him? Would it change anything if he just stopped there?


“Oh, it was just the other day,” Diane began, taking in a deep breath as she looked towards Deidra, “I was just having some heartburn and Deidra being the good sister that she is--was worrying about me and thought I should tell you. I didn’t think it was something to worry about, but now I am feeling better.”

“You should always tell me when things aren’t going well,” Ben frowned, kissing her forehead lightly, “We don’t want anything bad to happen to the baby.”

“I know and I will remember that next time,” Diane promised as he hugged her lightly in his arms.

“The reason I came in here was to see if you two would like some ice-cream,” Ben stated as he took a step back, “I know Deidra said she wasn’t hungry, but still.”

“I would love some,” Deidra smiled, nodding slowly as he smirked and walked away, “I take it he thinks you want some ice-cream.”

“He knows I do,” Diane sighed, looking back towards the door, “Thanks for not letting it out.”

“Hey, it’s not my place to tell him,” Deidra replied, holding her hands up in the air, “I am just telling you that this whole thing isn’t a smart idea. I won’t do anything to interfere because that is your place--not mine.”

“I have to do this my own way Dee,” Diane sighed, pacing between the room slowly, “Just, I beg of you that you won’t ruin this for me. Things are going so well and…”

“I already told you,” Deidra began, holding her hands in the air once more, “It isn’t my place to say anything. It’s all you there and I am not going to do a thing. I just think that if I were you, you should tell him soon before it is too late.”

“I know, I know,” Diane nodded slowly before basically trying to change the subject, “You should see the house.”

“I would love to see the house,” Deidra sighed, shaking her head slowly, “Just remember this one thing Diane--if you play with fire, you may end up burned if you aren’t careful.”

“Yeah, I know,” Diane replied, letting out a deep sigh as she shrugged her shoulders, “But if worst comes to worst, I know stop, drop and roll.”

“Somehow I don’t think that something like that is going to save you from this kind of situation,” Deidra frowned, shrugging her shoulders, “But if you trust this whole thing…who am I to judge?”


“So this is what it’s going to be like for us now, huh Dave?” Carly questioned, her eyes narrowing. She found herself still reeling from the thought of walking home to find Deidra standing in the center of Dave’s living room. “You ask Kayla and I to come back with you only long enough for you to invite her back into our lives. Is that it?”

“Carly, you don’t understand,” Dave groaned trying to talk some sense into Carly, but after her display with Deidra, he knew that would be easier said than done.

“Oh I understand Dave. I understood from the first moment I learned that Deidra was on the verge of a divorce,” she replied sharply, her words assaulting him. “I knew it was only a matter of time before she came running in your direction and you were ready to scoop her up in your arms.”

“Carly, no it’s not like that,” he shook his head to explain, “You see she’s having some problems and…”

“When isn’t she having problems Dave?” she placed her hands on her hips stubbornly.

“Look, it’s not what you’re thinking. I’m doing her a favor,” Dave tried again to explain himself.

“Yeah I can see that. Though tell me when aren’t you doing her a favor?” she muttered sarcastically.

“That’s not fair,” he frowned back at her, “Carly I realize that you’re upset about her being my friend, but…”

“Upset,” she repeated with a dry laugh, “Dave upset doesn’t even begin to cover it considering that you spent more than half of your life in love with that woman. Each and every time she has some kind of crisis pop up in her life there you are ready to play her white knight. I thought that maybe just maybe when I told you about Kayla--when you decided that you wanted for us to be a family that it would end, but it’s never going to is it? You’re never going to let go of this hold she has on you, are you?”

“Carly, it’s not about any kind of hold she has on me. Deidra is my friend and she’s in a bit of trouble. She needs someone to look out for her and…” Dave argued further.

“And you just nominated yourself for the job, eh? I mean that’s really what it amounted to just now didn’t it? You felt that if she needed someone to pull her out of whatever hole she put herself in it just had to be you. You just had to find a way to be the one to run to her aid,” Carly threw her hands up in the air, “I don’t know why I ever thought that was going to change.”

“It has changed. Deidra is my friend,” he shot back icily, “It’s never been anything more than that…”

“But not because that’s the way you wanted it to be. You wished more than anything that she was the woman you were sharing your life with--that she was the one that you could have a family with and…” Carly continued her anger and insecurity pouring out of her.

“And I’m with you, aren’t I?” he reminded her sharply, “I mean you’re the one who is moving into my home. You’re the mother of my child and I’ve told you time and time again that I want to make this work.”

“As long as Deidra’s not around I believe that,” she replied stubbornly, “but as soon as she pops into the picture again, I feel like it’s a race to see how fast you can work your way back into her life again.”

“You’re one to talk considering that you were sleeping with Ken not so long ago. I was willing to forgive and forget and give you another chance, yet you’re expecting some pretty unrealistic things out of me Carly,” Dave snapped at her having reached his breaking point, “Deidra has been one of my best friends for most of my life and I’m not about to let you or anyone else guilt me for caring about her.”

“Dave, I’m not saying that you can’t care about her, but with the way you go about doing it…” she shook her head at him, “And for you to say what you just did about Ken, well that pretty much speaks for itself doesn’t it? You say you’ve forgiven and forgotten, but you haven’t, have you?”

“I’d like to think that one day I can, but no I haven’t. I haven’t forgotten how you betrayed me again and again,” he continued tension coiling up and over his spine, “yet I’m trying. I don’t want to think the worst of you and all I ask is if you give me the same in return. Deidra and I weren’t even lovers…”

“But once again that’s not because you didn’t want to be. You have this weakness for her that…” Carly started to snap once more only to hear the sounds of footsteps in the hallway.

“What’s going on?” Kayla questioned looking up at the both of them with wide eyes. “I heard yelling. Are you two fighting again?”

“No, we’re not fighting,” Carly lied shaking her head and forcing a small smile. She walked over to her daughter and scooped her up in her arms, “We were just talking.”

“You were really loud,” Kayla confessed wearily before eyeing Dave, “Were you fighting about me?”

“No, we weren’t fighting about you or about anything,” Dave shook his head taking a step forward, “We were just having a grown up talk and sometimes that gets kind of loud.”

“Really loud,” Kayla added with a frown. “You know you should learn to be more quiet. My teacher Mrs. Somby said that it’s not polite to yell.”

“No it’s not,” Dave agreed reaching out to kiss the top of her head, “and we’ll try to mind our manners.”

“Okay,” Kayla nodded again, “I guess that’s okay if you’re not so loud.”

“We won’t be,” Carly promised her dark eyes still glaring over at Dave.

“No, we won’t be at all,” Dave reached out to pull Kayla out of Carly’s arms and into his. “In fact, why don’t we forget about the yelling and you show me those new toys you got today?”

“Okay,” Kayla cheered hugging him excitedly, “I put them in my brand new bedroom and I think you’re going to love them. They rock.”

“I’m sure they do,” Dave cast a look over in Carly’s direction only to see her disgusted expression. He opened his mouth to say something more, but before he could she turned around walking towards the front door.

“Mommy, where are you going?” Kayla questioned confused.

“I forgot something in the car,” Carly lied needing to get some air after her confrontation with Dave and Deidra. While she was trying to be understanding, there was just something about Dave’s feelings for Deidra that she would never accept. Sure, she knew she was in no position to cast stones at him, yet…when she thought about the way he looked when she’d walked into the house to see him with Deidra--when she thought of the expression on his face, she knew full well that she was nothing more than a second choice to him. Deidra would always rank number one in his life and no matter how many promises he made about the future with her and Kayla, she knew better than to believe. She could see the truth right before her eyes.


“I didn’t know you could dance like that,” Cori let out a small yawn as they entered the elevator, “I figured you would be the one who would step on your feet every two seconds.”

“Hey now,” Diego frowned, leaning against the elevator wall, “I think you are giving me a little too little of credit there.”

“Well, how else are going to earn some credit?” Cori questioned with a small smirk, seeing him shrug his shoulders. “Other than dancing my feet off.”

“I have something in mind,” he winked, grabbing her hand and crushing her into him, “Tell me how this works out.”

His mouth covered hers slowly as his hand traveled to the small of her back, pulling her in closer to him. He felt her fingers run across his muscular chest as his mouth devoured hers.

“So,” he smirked, backing away from her to wrap his arm around her waist tightly, pulling her in close to him. He saw the dazed look behind her eyes as he ran his hand through her hair slowly, “What would you say? Did I earn some credit there?”

“I would give you so much credit,” she nodded slowly with a small laugh, “How about you try to earn some more credit right about now.”

“I would love to,” he smiled, pulling her out of the elevator with him as it opened and he began to walk backwards while he kissed her. “You see, the thing about credit--it’s very easy to earn as long as you know what you are doing.”

“I would say you know what you are doing,” Cori pointed out, nibbling on his bottom lip as they reached the hotel room door, “I think you can earn a lot of credit.”

“I have?” he questioned, arching his eyebrows at her as he grabbed her in his arms and lifted her against the door, feeling her legs wrap around his torso tightly. “I think credit would be farthest from my mind right now.”

“I would have to agree with you,” Cori chuckled as he began to nip at the heated skin of her neck slowly.

“Diego?” Heather questioned with a small gasp as Diego slowly set Cori down and turned to face Heather.

“Heather,” Diego whispered her name as he looked her over. She had an ice bucket in her hand and she was tapping her foot at him as if he had been doing something wrong. Something told him that this wasn’t going to be a nice conversation.


“I don’t like the looks of this,” Brant admitted pulling his car up as close as he could get to the scene. There were fire trucks surrounding the area that had been taped off. The sky was thick and gray--smoke surrounding the night as if it would eat it alive. There were sounds of sirens, people moving in for a closer look and as he turned to Avery, he watched the color drain from her face.

“Neither do I,” she admitted as soon as he pulled his car to a stop. He parked it and she practically jumped out of the car ready to find Grady. She spotted him with Sarah, Kyle, Seth, Blake and Shannon up ahead. Turning around she motioned to Brant, who encouraged her to go ahead.

“Grady!” Avery called his name pushing her way past the crowd. She heard a police officer tell her she couldn’t go beyond the tape, but she ignored the request making her way towards the group. “Grady!”

“Avery,” he turned in recognition of her voice. He stood frozen before her, his eyes sunken and filled with fear when she finally reached him. “They won’t let me go in there. They won’t let any of us go in there. They won’t say what’s going on and…”

“And we’re going to get in there,” Kyle promised moving in closer to his friend, “We’ll find a way.”

“What’s happening?” Brant questioned joining the group. “What’s going on in there?”

“Julian and I went to Susan’s apartment and we found things--we found these blueprints for this building and…” Grady spoke up in a shaky voice his gaze fixed upon Avery, “Avery, she’s nothing like that woman I thought I married. She’s beyond evil. They found plans for a bomb and…”

“A bomb,” Avery repeated blankly, “Why the hell would Susan have plans for a bomb?”

“Because she’s the one who blew up the airport,” Blake added bitterly, “That bitch caused us all to lose people we loved.”

“Wait a second are you saying that Susan…” Brant’s jaw practically dropped, “No way. There’s just no damn way that…”

Brant’s words fell to silence as he looked to the building in front of them. Immediately he was taken back to the day of the airport bombing. He could remember the wreckage clear as day--remember the cries for help and the terror. He couldn’t get the images out of his mind. Now as he looked to the building before him, he felt a reminiscent of that horrible day before him all over again.

“I have to get in there!” Grady explained wildly refusing to stand idle any longer. He turned to the building just as another explosion went off and a fireman emerged seconds before the building crumpled to pieces shooting out rock and concrete with a loud coughing pop.

“What’s happening?” Shannon questioned seeing the fireman before her coughing.

“There was a woman… she was in there and…” the man explained sucking in air unable to get it fast enough.

“What woman?” Grady demanded pushing his way towards the man, “Where was she?”

“We tried to save her. We did all we could, but with the smoke and the flames. It was too late…” the man hung his head solemnly, “We were too late. We couldn’t save her.”

“No!” Grady shouted turning to the building, “No I don’t believe that. No!”

“Grady,” Avery shouted his name seeing him rush towards the flames.

Kyle chased after him in an attempt to keep him out of harm’s way, but Grady was stopped by a police officer. Grady punched him in the jaw before continuing forward desperate to save Jade. The first officer went down and Grady continued on, but he wasn’t nearly as close as he wanted to be. Seconds later he was taken down by five officers, tackled to the ground before they tried to carry him back kicking and screaming.

“No! I have to save her. I have to get to her!” Grady shouted, but his cries of protest were falling upon deaf ears as it was too late. “Let go of me!”

“Let go of him,” Kyle roared prying the officers off of Grady with one thunderous motion. After he’d knocked one man down another stepped back raising his arms in the air defensively.

“Kyle, I have to get to her. I have to get in there!” Grady began desperately, “I have to find her. They’re wrong. She’s in there and she needs me. She…”

“Grady, it’s too late man,” Kyle replied somberly, “I’m sorry…”

“No…No…” Grady broke down falling forward into his friends arms as reality over took him. Susan had finally delivered the final blow in tearing his heart to pieces forever. He’d lost the only thing that truly mattered in his life. There had been hope before, but now as he looked to the burning building before him he knew that it had just been ripped away from him in the worst possible way.


...to be continued...