Episode 235

“Well isn’t this interesting,” Heather huffed finding it hard to bite back on the jealousy that was coiling throughout her body. Sure, she may not have given Diego a fair shake, but to see him with that blonde bimbo making out in the hallway no less, well it did a great many things to send Heather through the roof.

“Heather,” Diego spoke her name, nervousness spilling over his features. He looked at her noting the ice bucket in her hand and he let out a small gulp. “What are you doing here?”

“Obviously not what you were about to do,” Heather opened her mouth again to speak before she looked to Cori. She took a step forward pushing the ice bucket into a surprised Cori’s arms before she reached out to Diego. Tugging on his sleeve she pulled him down the hallway out of Cori’s earshot. Once she was certain that Diego’s flavor of the moment wasn’t listening, she glared up at him. “What do you think you’re doing?”

“I was on my way inside to visit a friend,” he replied tightly, his face hot with embarrassment at what Heather had walked into yet again.

“A friend?” she repeated with a pinched squeal in the back of her throat, “A friend who just sees it fitting to have her tongue lodged in your mouth while your hands are on her ass?”

“Heather,” Diego chastised glancing over at Cori to see her tapping her foot impatiently. “Look I don’t have time to explain…”

“Oh of course you don’t Diego,” she rolled her eyes at him, her agitation growing further by the moment, “I mean when you’re with a woman--when you make love to her, it’s because you have a connection to her. You know it’s all about emotional bonding and not because lust has taken control of the situation and blurred it right?”

Diego stiffened feeling his own words thrown out at him as memories of a brief moment of passion between him and Heather flickered through his mind. His skin felt like it was on fire. He looked to Heather’s mouth seeing it curled with obvious dismay. In that moment a memory flickered in his mind--the vision of her and him together when he’d lost control of his inhibitions. He’d been strict in his wanting to keep things on a professional friendly level, but that one time when they’d come oh so close to passion with one another…it still haunted them.

“So tell me Diego,” Heather folded her arms in front of her chest glaring at him bluntly, “is this about emotional bonding with the bargain basement hooker over there or is this really about the fact that you never had me?”

“Oh please,” Diego rolled his eyes snapping out of his memory of them together when Heather returned to attack mode. He stood up straighter facing her down, “This is none of your business.”

“Given that you’re my…” she stammered for the right word, “friend I think it’s entirely my business Diego.”

“Heather, I really don’t think that now is the time for us to get into this,” Diego glanced over at Cori to see her looking quite irritated. He attempted to step around Heather.

“I think it’s well beyond time for us,” Heather placed her hand into the center of his chest to stop him, “Diego I know that we’ve had some situations arise, but that hasn’t changed the way we feel about each other. That doesn’t take away from what it is I feel for you…”

“And what might that be exactly?” he questioned harshly glaring down at her, “That I’m the one you want to lean on when everyone else is too busy to care?”

“No, Diego it’s not like that. You’re someone special--someone who believes in me and someone that maybe under different circumstances I could really kind of see myself falling in love with,” she blurted out with painful emotion, “Doesn’t that count for anything?”

“In case you haven’t noticed these aren’t different circumstances Heather,” he remarked firmly trying to keep his heart under lock and key after he’d had it crushed by her time and time again. “I know you just think you feel that way because Brant is married to Avery and Kipp isn’t going to be with you either.”

“Diego, this isn’t about Brant or even about Kipp,” she pleaded with him reaching for his arm again, “This is about us--about you and me and the way I feel when I’m with you. You make me want to be a better person. You make me feel like I’m a somebody and that’s rare these days.”

“Heather, don’t…” Diego tried to cut her off once more.

“Diego please,” she took in a long breath, “I’m begging you not to throw away what it is we have between us for someone like that. I know you couldn’t possibly love her. I know that she’s not…”

“Not what?” he questioned with an arched brow.

“Not me. Diego, she’s not me,” she blurted out taking a bold step forward, “She can’t give you what I can. She couldn’t possibly have the same kind of connection with you that I do. She couldn’t make you want to give up on being mister stuffed shirt and stressed out and just enjoy life like you do when we’re around one another. I know she couldn’t possibly do that for you.”

“See now that’s where you’re wrong,” Cori moved forward shoving Heather aside. She stepped in beside Diego possessively bringing her arm around his chest, “I can do all that and more. And when Diego is with me he’s not pretending to be happy. He is happy.”

“Back off bitch!” Heather snapped at Cori waving her hand dismissively, “This is an A-B conversation, so see your way out of it.”

“Sorry, but I’m not about to let you stand here and harass my guy any longer. Right honey?” Cori reached out to Diego turning his head towards hers. She stepped up on her toes to kiss him heatedly catching him off guard before taking a step back. She reached out to drag her thumb over his lower lip before smiling. She thought she heard Heather huff before she faced her again seeing signs of anger flooding over her, “Now if you’ll excuse us, we’ve got a lot of catching up with one another to do and that doesn’t include you.”

Heather stood stunned watching Cori drag Diego down the hallway over to her hotel room. With each step they took away from Heather, she felt her last chance for happiness slipping away. She felt a low whimper rise in the back of her throat before she spoke up again.

“Diego please,” Heather started watching him stop mid-movement. He glanced over his shoulder looking at her with a painful expression before Cori gave him a gentle nudge into her hotel room.

“Good night Heather,” Cori waved with a glare before shutting the door behind them and leaving Heather alone in the hallway to reflect on the one that got away again. There was her last chance at happiness leaving her just like everyone else had. So now she really truly was alone in all of this. Right now she supposed she had no one to blame for this but herself--no scratch that, she blamed Cori for stepping in at a time when she clearly wasn‘t needed. Oh Diego might be blinded by her perky little smile, blonde hair and long legs, but as far as Heather was concerned, this was war. If Cori wanted a fight, she was about to get more than she bargained for.


Dave walked into the living room to discover Carly standing by the window. He could see she was still tense and agitated about what had happened earlier when she’d come home to find Deidra there. He’d tried to reason with her--to explain what it is she actually saw, but it was no use. Carly wasn’t about to hear any of it at this point. She was still upset and Dave found himself at a loss in figuring out how to remedy the situation. Instead of trying to come up with the right answer, Dave decided to play it by ear.

“Kayla’s reading a book in her room,” Dave explained breaking his silence as Carly turned around to look at him. She didn’t say much, but her eyes were self-explanatory. “Actually she is probably asleep by now considering she was really tired when I tucked her in.”

“I think we all are. It’s been a long day,” Carly replied simply turning around to walk out of the room.

“Carly wait,” Dave reached out to her grabbing her arm mid-movement.

“What?” she questioned spinning around to face him with a glare.

“I was just thinking about this. We shouldn’t be fighting over Deidra like this especially considering that there’s really nothing to be fighting about in the first place,” he sighed keeping his hold on her.

“Dave, how can you even begin to say that?” she shook her head at him, “When I think about the situation with Deidra…”

“There is no situation with Deidra,” he threw his hands up in the air, “and I wish that you’d just realize that once and for all Carly. I don’t want to be with Deidra. I want to be with you.”

“You’re only saying that because you feel like you have to be with me,” she replied shaking her head, “Dave I don’t want to fight about this. How about you just point me in the direction of your guest room and we’ll just call it a night?”

“Carly,” Dave frowned watching her try to keep a distance between them. He folded his arms in front of his chest before blurting out, “I don’t want you in the guest room.”

“You could’ve fooled me,” Carly pouted stubbornly, “especially considering that it seems like you’re keeping a place in your bed warm for Deidra.”

“For the last time I’m not pining away after Deidra. I don’t love Deidra and I don’t want to be with her,” Dave stepped forward, his dark eyes fixed on Carly’s, “What do I have to do to prove that to you?”

“Start believing it yourself,” Carly sighed heavily bringing her fingers through her long, dark hair, “Dave it’s just I can see when you’re with her…”

“Forget about when I’m with her and think about what I’m like when I’m with you,” he reached out to pull her into his arms. He leaned in to kiss her only to feel her turn away. His lips grazed over the side of her neck before he nibbled on her ear teasingly, “Think about how hot it was when we were at your mother’s place with half the world watching us. Think about the local paper’s little report that had your mother humiliated…”

“That’s so not funny,” she couldn’t help but laugh thinking about the way her mother had been ready to tear Dave apart. Helen Matthews was a woman who told it like it was and she pretty much informed Dave under no uncertain terms that he wasn’t welcome in her home any longer. Carly had tried to intervene, but all she’d gotten from Helen was a firm warning that Carly was getting into trouble by bringing Dave into her life.

“Yes it is,” Dave chuckled with mild amusement. “You can’t tell me that it didn’t do something for you to see her all worked up like that.”

“Not when half of her neighbors saw you and I together…naked,” she replied feeling a blush rise over her features.

“Yeah well forget about them,” Dave hugged her in closer to him, feeling her reluctance to let him get near her fading away, “I happened to have liked seeing you naked. In fact I think if we were busy doing more of that, then you’d be finding yourself less inclined to be worried about Deidra.”

“Dave,” she curled her lip in a frown.

“Carly, I don’t want to be with Deidra. I want to be with you,” he kissed her quickly, “I want to spend my time with you--to be lost with you--inside of you…”

Carly closed her eyes tasting the fire of his kiss sweeping over her. She wrapped her arms around his shoulders squeezing him in closer yet. His mouth tapered off over her neck seeking out her earlobe.

“I want to be with you in every way imaginable…making love to you--spending my life with you,” he continued honestly thinking about the dreams he’d had for a future with him Carly and Kayla.

“Dave I…” she sighed dropping her head back a bit to feel his lips press in over her pulse.

“I want all of you Carly,” Dave murmured against her skin, “I want to have you as my friend, my lover, my wife…”

“Your wife,” she stood upright her eyes widening upon that one word in particular, “Dave, are you saying what I think you just said?”

He seemed a little surprised himself at his declaration. Finally he nodded, “Yeah I believe I am. Carly I don’t need anymore convincing about the two of us, but if you do, well there’s only one logical solution to all of this. Marry me.”

“Marry you,” she repeated thinking about how their history had brought them to an engagement before that had ended sourly.

“That’s right. Marry me,” Dave decided his grin widening, “I think it’s something we should do.”

“You’re serious?” she eyed him wearily, “Or are you just saying this because I was upset with you about Deidra.”

“I’m saying it because Kayla is my daughter and she deserves to have her parents together. She should have her mother and father together in a mature, loving relationship,” Dave confessed squeezing her in his arms, “and besides if I’m your husband your mother can’t chastise me for our being together anymore.”

“Dave,” she wrinkled her nose at him catching the laugh that swept over him.

“I’m kidding,” he teased, “well not about the marriage part, but about your mother…well, not entirely, but still…”

“So you just want to go for it?” she paused thinking about what he was saying, “Just get married?”

He nodded, “That’s right. We just get married. I mean I wanted you and Kayla to be staying here with me anyways so why not just make it easier on all of us?”

“Dave, I hear what you’re saying, but do you understand what it is you’re about to get yourself into? If we get married this isn’t something that we can just decide in a few weeks won’t work and…”

“Carly, I wouldn’t have asked if I wasn’t sure,” Dave cut her off abruptly, “I wouldn’t have said anything if I didn’t want it. I mean okay so it’s not most traditional of proposals and I didn’t exactly come prepared, but I know that this would be right for us.”

“Are you serious?” she blinked back at him.

“I’m very serious. So what do you say? Would you like to marry me and make me the happiest man alive?” Dave wiggled his brow at her, “You already have blessed me with the most beautiful little girl in the world, so what do you say we take this a step further and give me something else to look forward to--like maybe a little brother or sister for Kayla somewhere down the line as well?”

“Really?” she couldn’t help but smile at him.

“Yes really. Marry me Carly. Please,” he reached for her hand raising it to his lips for a small kiss.

“Yes,” Carly squealed throwing her arms around him, “Oh yes I’ll marry you Dave.”


“She asleep?” Kevin questioned as Ria slowly walked out of the bedroom that Trisha was in. It had been a while since Trisha had been away from the hospital and she seemed to be doing fine.

“Thank God yes,” Ria nodded slowly, letting out a small sigh of relief, “I was worried that she might be awake because of nightmares or something.”

“She’ll be fine,” Kevin assured her with a small smile as she took a seat next to him on the couch and he switched through the channels on the television.

“Oh, go back to that,” Ria smirked as he looked towards her, arching his eyebrow at her after seeing the enthusiasm behind her voice, “What?”

“You like wrestling?” Kevin wondered as he set the remote down after turning wrestling back on. “I can’t believe you like wrestling. That is just so…”

“Me,” Ria answered, lifting her feet up onto the couch as she wrapped her arms around her knees, “You know, these guys put too much effort into this stuff.”

“Well, at least they keep people entertained,” Kevin shrugged with a small sigh, “If you can be entertained by this stuff--then I guess what they are doing in working out for them.”

“You know, I can just imagine you in a costume like that guy on the right,” Ria pointed out as Kevin stared at the guy before letting out a small laugh, “I’m being serious.”

“You have to be kidding,” Kevin chuckled, shaking his head slowly, “There is no way that anyone is going to get me into one of those things. You are hardly in anything. Fat chance.”

“Oh, come on,” Ria squeezed his bicep, feeling the muscle flex underneath her fingertips, “You know you would look hot. So why not?”

“I know I would look hot,” he agreed before letting out a small sigh, “I just think that it would kind of be hard to fit into one of those things. They look like they cling onto you a little too much.”

“I like too much,” Ria winked as Kevin rolled his eyes and looked back towards the match.

“Ouch,” Kevin shook his head slowly as he saw someone begin to bleed from the head, “I would never do something like that. They must be crazy.”

“Now that I am looking at these two guys,” Ria began as the bigger guy picked the other one over his head, “They aren’t so tough--I could totally take them.”

“Yeah, right,” he rolled his eyes as he let out a small laugh, “You’re too little to take on a big man like that.”

“I took you on didn’t I?” she questioned seeing his cheeks began to flush with a light red coloring.

“Um, that’s not exactly what I meant,” Kevin gulped down before seeing her nod slowly and slightly laugh.

“Well yeah,” she shrugged, before going on with the conversation, “But I could so totally get you down to the ground if need be. I could hold my own against a guy your size.”

“Please,” he rolled his eyes once more before letting out a deep laugh, “I seriously doubt that Ria. I mean look at yourself.”

“You don’t think that I could wrestle you?” she questioned as he looked up at her after she stood and tried to get him up. “Come on, let’s wrestle. I’ll show you that I can.”

“Ria, not right now,” he groaned as she tugged on his arm before beginning to jab him in the shoulder, “Ria, stop it.”

“No, I want you to get up,” she teased, hitting him in the shoulder over and over again. “Come on Kev, I’ll do this all night if I have to.”

“Go ahead,” he smirked, shaking his head slowly, “I think you are working out a muscle there. So keep doing what you are doing.”

“That’s it,” Ria frowned, hitting him in the stomach as he stood up slowly, after rolling his eyes at the way she was acting. “Now wrestle me.”

“This is kind of ridiculous,” Kevin pointed out as she wrapped her arms around his shoulders and jumped up on his back, “You have to be kidding me. That is how you are going to get me down. Forcing me to give you a piggyback ride.”

“No, I have you in a chokehold,” she laughed as she tightened the grip on his throat and he grabbed her arms in his large hands. “Get down and I will let go.”

“No,” he laughed, feeling her tighten her grip as he nearly tripped, but still kept her up, “You aren’t hurting me I hope you know.”

“Fine,” Ria shrugged, biting his earlobe and tugging on it as he tried to swipe her away from him.

“Ouch,” Kevin frowned, swinging her around as he tried to get her off, “In case you didn’t know--you can’t bite in wrestling.”

“In my wrestling you can,” she replied as he grabbed her and flipped her over his shoulders and onto the couch, “I guess I lost didn’t I?”

“You just got disqualified for not following the rules,” he smirked, sitting back down on the couch as she got up slowly, “You lose if you don’t play by the rules.”

“I don’t always have to play by the rules you know,” she pointed out, leaning forward and resting her on his muscular chest lightly while her fingers gripped onto the material of his shirt. Their lips met as she began to nibble on his bottom lip gently.

“Oh god,” Trisha rolled her eyes as she stepped out of the bedroom and looked at her sister and Kevin as they backed away from each other. “I thought I heard something important, but I guess it was just you two.”

“Goodnight,” Kevin laughed as Trisha waved before shutting the door behind her for going back to bed.

“I guess I'm disqualified in that case because I bit right?” Ria questioned, eyeing Kevin slowly as he shrugged his shoulders.

“I don’t know,” Kevin scooted in closer to her as he wrapped his arm around her shoulders, “Why don’t you do it again and then I will decide if it was a disqualification?”


“I can’t believe how this is coming together,” Angela squealed plopping down on Nick’s couch. She looked over to her fiancé seeing him setting down the various bags Martha had sent home with them after a long day of wedding planning.

“Neither can I,” Nick set the bags down before offering up a tiny laugh, “Could these get any heavier?”

“I suppose they could, but hey look on the bright side,” Angela pat the couch cushion beside her, “they aren’t going to break either one of us financially there.”

“I realize that, but then again it’s my finances that are an issue,” Nick sighed moving in to sit beside her. He lay his head on the back of the couch before looking to her, “I wish it wasn’t like that.”

“Nick, I don’t know why you’re worrying about it so very much. I’m not marrying you for your money,” she wrinkled her nose at him, “Heaven knows I have more than enough of it myself. Who cares about all that trivial stuff when we live in paradise together on an island where we can live on love?”

“I do like the sound of that,” he leaned in closer to her tasting her lips tenderly. He felt her breath caress his lips as they parted and a smile touched over the corners of his lips, “I love you.”

“I love you too,” she replied placing her hand over the center of his chest and pushing him back further onto the sofa, “You know some might think that you have reason to worry about this financial issue, but I have to be honest with you. The only reason I’m marrying you is because I’m using you.”

“You're using me?” he raised a surprised brow. She climbed on top of him straddling him, “How do you figure?”

“Well, for starters,” she leaned in to nibble on his lip before her hands crept up underneath his shirt, “I happen to find myself addicted to your body--to what it feels like to be on top of you just like this.”

“Is that right?” Nick questioned against her urgings. He felt her push the material of his shirt up and over his torso. He leaned forward letting her guide it over his head before she discarded it.

“Uh huh,” she replied licking her lips. She leaned forward placing a kiss over the center of his chest, her hands dropping down to the drawstring on his pants, “and then there’s this…”

“Whoa now,” Nick caught her hand before it disappeared into the front of his pants, “before we get to what else it is that you’re using me for as your own personal plaything, can I have a minute?”

“You can have all night if you’d like,” Angela promised leaning forward to steal a kiss from him.

“I’m going to gladly take you up on that, but before we get ahead of ourselves, why don’t you go into my pants,” he saw her eyes widen and a sly grin creep over her, “pocket and see what’s there.”

“Hmm, now that sounds like that could be fun,” she laughed lightly rotating her body over him just enough to pull a soft grunt from him.

“Angela, the pocket,” he spoke sternly before rethinking his proposal, “On second thought how about I get it myself?”

“And kill the fun,” she curled her lip in a pout feeling him nudge her away from him just a bit so that he could get into his pocket.

“Behave,” he warned giving her another long look, “because I’m trying to work up to something here. I have something for you.”

“You do?” her eyes widened with curiosity. “What is it?”

“If you sit still I’ll show you,” he promised pulling a small black jewelry box out of his pocket, “Now while I know that things aren’t exactly as I’d like them to be in my life--I mean I really hope that I’m not going to be just a bartender forever…”

“You won’t be,” she touched his cheek gently, “You’ll find yourself and when you do I have no doubt in my mind you’ll be great at whatever you set out to do. I can already see you’re going to be an amazing father.”

“But before I embark upon that journey, there’s one more thing that I’d like to say that I did right in our relationship,” he confessed opening up the bow to reveal the pearl ring inside.

“Oh Nick,” she gasped in surprise looking at the gem before her.

“Now I know that I said it was all mine since I found it, but the truth to the matter was that I needed to have something special done with it before it was suited for my purposes,” he explained extracting the ring from the box and holding it out to her, “I know it’s not a traditional diamond, but…”

“It’s perfect,” she squealed excitedly watching him slip the ring on her finger, “Oh Nick I love it.”

“And I love you,” he replied holding her closer to him. “I wanted to get you some kind of ring and while I know it’s probably not what you were imagining from your husband…”

“Would you stop?” she swatted at his chest lightly, “The fact that you took the time to have this made for me--that you really put your heart into this, well words can’t even begin to explain why this is so much better than a boring diamond could ever be. I love it Nick.”

“I had an inscription put in there too so that you’ll never forget me,” Nick explained further watching her pull the ring off of her finger to read it. Her eyes scanned over the words and tears came to her eyes.

“Oh Nick,” she hugged him finding herself overcome with emotion, “I love it.”

“I love you,” he squeezed her tighter in his arms, “and I promise you that I’m going to do everything in my power to make you the happiest woman in the world.”

“You already have,” she sighed kissing him as it seemed like her dreams of happiness were finally coming true for a change.


“And you can cancel my appearance in New York,” Zoë explained to her publicist on the phone. She started thinking about the things she had to take care of in Coral Valley and she realized that a book tour was most certainly out of the question. “I realize that it’s not something they’re going to be happy about, but I have some personal happenings going on right now. I will reschedule when I can and while you’re at it, I think you may as well try to do the same with Boston.”

“Zoë are you sure that you want to be doing this,” her publicist questioned clearly uneasy about the decision to put an end to the successful tour so early on.

“I wish that there were some other way around it, but my family comes first,” Zoë explained politely saying her final good-byes to her publicist for a while.

She had things to do, people to talk to and right now she couldn’t afford any distractions. She had to focus on trying to get back into Kipp’s life somehow. Of course if she just walked up to his front door and said she was his mother, she was quite certain he wouldn’t understand that. Come to think of it, the more she tried to figure things out, the harder it was.

“You’ll find a way,” she assured herself hoping that sooner or later the solution to all of this would come to her. Hearing a knock on her hotel room door, she remembered the room service she’d ordered. Augustus has insisted that she stay at the mansion, but there were too many ghosts of the past lingering there. She was still haunted by her brother’s interference in her life and now, well now she wanted to break away from the pain of the past and move forward. The hotel might not be the best place to do that, but it was a start until she found something a little more permanent.

She stopped at the door realizing she hadn’t had anything on her for a tip. Shuffling around the room, she finally located her purse before alerting the person on the other side of the door to hold on. She pulled out a few dollar bills before opening the door to see Douglas standing in front of her.

“I’ll wait as long as it takes to speak with you,” he explained motioning to the hotel room, “as long as you agree to let me in.”

“Not on your life,” she replied sharply ready to slam the door in his face.

“Now Zoë,” Douglas frowned his eyes sweeping over her, “Is that really any way to behave considering that…”

“That what? That you’ve kept my son believing in a lie about his mother? That you and my brother tricked me into giving him away when he needed me to protect him from you?” she hissed back at him.

“You made the choice to put him up for adoption long before I discovered you were pregnant. You never once even hinted that you could be having my child,” Douglas reminded her sharply, “That never came up for us.”

“That’s because you were married Doug. You had a wife and we never should’ve been together in the first place,” she huffed back at him attempting to close the door once again. “Apparently from what I’ve seen, you’ve gone well out of your way to have children with women who weren’t your wife.”

“That’s not entirely true, but I’m not about to argue semantics with you considering how you tried to cut me out of Kipp’s life,” he glared down at her, “What right did you have in taking my son away from me when all I ever did was treat you like you were something special?”

“Something special,” she practically choked on the words, “You lied to me from the beginning Doug. You lead me to believe that we had something--that you cared about me, but it was all lies. If I had known the truth about your wife…”

“You’re one to talk about the truth Zoë. You never once told me who you really were. When we were together we kept it as simple as possible. You never once said that you were Zoë Ashford--heiress to the Ashford empire.”

“And if I had we both know how it would’ve gone. You would’ve used that to your advantage sooner than you did since clearly you and Nicholas had no problems exploiting that when I was younger,” she snarled back at him, “You and my brother both tried to dupe me out of a life with my son.”

“You gave up every right you had to him when you put him up for adoption. That was your choice Zoë, not mine,” he threw out in an accusatory tone, “I just merely opted to keep Kipp in the life that was meant for him. My son deserved nothing but the best and I gave it to him all of his life.”

“Is that why he’s constantly been a target Doug? Is that why he’s nearly lost his life and…” she glared up at him.

“I did a great many things wrong in my life, one of them being the way in which I treated you. I was wrong to try to cut you out of Kipp’s life and deceive you like I did, but if you’d been honest with me from the start…” he argued with her.

“Then what? Nothing would’ve changed and you know it. You didn’t care about me then and you most certainly don’t care now,” she reminded him harshly.

“I always cared about you Zoë and furthermore I’m here today because I care about Kipp. The last thing I want is for him to have to deal with this--with any of this especially now that he’s starting to reclaim his life again. If you start spinning tales about us to him and leading him to believe that his life is a lie…” he tried to appeal to her.

“You’re the one who did that. You’re the one who built a world of deceptions up around him,” she waved her finger at him accusingly, “and now it’s time to shed some light on the truth. Kipp deserves to know who I am.”

“He deserves happiness Zoë and he has that without you in his life,” he remarked sharply.

“I seriously doubt that Doug and besides it doesn’t matter what it is that you’re hoping for with this one. I’m telling Kipp the truth and nothing you do or say can stop me from that,” she informed him bluntly shoving him back out into the hall before slamming the door shut in his face. She made up her mind and no one was going to change that for her--especially not Douglas Mahoney.


“He seems to be asleep,” Kipp sighed, walking out of Charles’s room and to the couch where Kellen was sitting, “I’m glad that he is such a good sleeper.”

“He is such a good everything,” Kellen replied with a small smile seeing Kipp take a seat next to him before letting out a deep sigh, “A lot on your mind?”

“Yeah, I was just thinking about my father,” Kipp stated with a small frown and Kellen nodded slowly, “I mean, I want to be a good parent. I want to be the type of father that shows up at all the meetings for school.”

“You will be a great dad,” Kellen assured him with a small smirk, “I can already see the father figure inside of you. You are going to be perfect, I can tell.”

“At least you believe in me,” Kipp sighed, leaning back into the couch as Kellen turned towards him to listen, “You know, my father’s idea of taking care of me was giving me all the money I want and having other people take care of me.”

“Right,” Kellen nodded, eyeing over Kipp as he thought to himself before going on about the subject.

“The funniest thing that ever happened though,” Kipp began with a laugh, shaking his head slowly, “I told him that I want to have a woman around the house and he bought me a hooker for my sixteenth birthday and left it at that.”

“Gee, how thoughtful,” Kellen arched his eyebrows at the last comment before going on, “Did you ever do anything with that girl?”

“Yeah,” Kipp laughed, nodding slowly as Kellen eyed him over, “I believe I played a game of war with cards and then I told her to leave.”

“Oh,” Kellen started as he watched Kipp think for a second, “I guess you were a good kid then?”

“Far from it,” Kipp answered with a small sigh seeing the way that Kellen was looking at him, “I wasn’t raised to be a real good person. I was abandoned by my mother when I was younger and look at my father. I swore when my mother left, I was never going to do that to my child.”

“You are a good person Kipp,” Kellen insisted, reaching out to squeeze Kipp’s shoulder lightly, “Whether you see it or not. I know that you are a good person. With Charles, I know you are going to be a good father. You aren’t going to make the same mistakes that parents like ours made. You will be there for your son. You will care for him. You won’t leave him Kipp and that makes you a good father.”

“I am really glad that you believe in me Kellen,” Kipp sighed, shaking his head slowly, “If I didn’t have someone to believe in me--I don’t know what I would do. So, I think I owe a lot to you around now.”

“It’s nothing Kipp,” Kellen hushed with a small laugh, “I want to be there for you and I want to be there for Charles. I love that baby too and I care for you--I don’t want you to get hurt by Heather.”

“I won’t,” Kipp assured him before thinking for a second, “I am never going to turn out like my mother, father, your father, or Heather. I am going to love my baby forever.”

“And that’s how it should be,” Kellen agreed with a wide smile before squeezing Kipp’s shoulder lightly, “Now how about we go and play a game of war. You know--to bring back old memories.”

“Sounds fun,” Kipp laughed, standing up and following Kellen to the table, “Let me go get the cards and I will be right back.”


“I can’t stand just waiting here,” Grady paced back and forth between the police station lobby, “We have been here forever and we haven’t heard a thing. You think it would be smart to just come and give us some news.”

“Maybe you should just sit down,” Avery suggested as Grady paced back and forth more, “It might make the time go by faster than it would with you pacing like that.”

“I don’t think time could go any faster Avery,” Kyle pointed out, raising his head up to look Avery in the eyes, “You can’t say you aren’t feeling as nervous as he is right now. We are all that way.”

“We understand that,” Sarah agreed, shrugging her shoulders as she looked to Avery who was sitting next to her, “What Avery was trying to say was--if he sits down, he might calm down a little.”

“No one is going to be calm,” Kyle snapped, shaking his head slowly, “I don’t think you understand what is going on here. Someone we care about can be hurt, we don’t want to be calm. In being calm, that proves we don’t care.”

“Shannon,” Grady yelled out, catching a glimpse of Shannon as she walked past them in the hallway before turning around and walking back towards them, “Please tell me that you heard a little something more about that woman found.”

“All I know is that they are checking it all out,” Shannon answered with a small frown, “I don’t know much more. I wish I could answer every question you have, but I just don’t know.”

“When are we going to find out Shannon?” Grady wondered, seeing Shannon shrug. “Is there anything that you do know? It’s not Jade right.”

“Grady, I should probably show you this,” Shannon pondered, pulling a plastic bag from her pocket to reveal a necklace inside of it. “We found this on the woman.”

“That’s Jades,” Grady gasped, shaking his head slowly, “There is no way. It’s not Jade. It can’t be Jade.”

“We don’t know if it is yet Grady,” Shannon sighed, biting down on her bottom lip, “All you need to do is keep praying to god that she is alive.”

“It’s not her,” Grady snapped, running his hand though his hair slowly, “I won’t believe that.”

“Grady, come on,” Avery frowned as he walked away from everyone and she quickly got up and followed him, “Would you just stop?”

“He’s right you know,” Seth let out a deep breath, “It’s not Jade. I know it’s not. It can’t be. I don’t want to hear any of this either. I need some air.”

“Seth, wait,” Blake called out, trying to catch up, “I will go with you--you shouldn’t be alone.”


“I can’t believe this is happening,” Kyle sighed, leaning forward in his seat, “I can’t believe that I never saw this whole thing coming.”

“Don’t blame yourself again Kyle,” Sarah begged as he shook his head slowly, “You weren’t the one who did this.”

“But I could have stopped it,” Kyle replied, letting out a deep breath as he thought to himself about Susan for a long second, “I should have just seen it sooner. I should have realized that Susan was this evil. I could have saved myself and Jade if I just realized this was going to happen.”

“Kyle, you can’t read minds,” Brant pointed out from the corner of the room as he saw Kyle rise from his seat, “I think you should calm down. None of this is your fault.”

“I don’t care what you think,” Kyle scowled, shaking his head slowly. “And what do you know Brant? You know nothing. Nothing about me, nothing about what’s going on. Just butt out.”

“Kyle, he is trying to help you,” Sarah hushed, rubbing the back of his shoulders lightly, “That’s all he is trying to do.”

“I don’t need help from anyone right now,” Kyle snapped, backing away from Sarah slowly, “I don’t need it at all. I can help myself and that’s all I need right now. Every time I get help from someone, all that happens--is something like this. I don’t need anyone.”

“Kyle,” Sarah gasped as Kyle punched one of the vendors as hard as he could, denting the machine before he walked away from the lobby, “Kyle come on.”

“Hey,” Brant sighed, touching her shoulder lightly as she turned away from where Kyle had stomped off, “This fell out when he hit the vendor, giving me a free soda. You want it?”

“Thanks,” Sarah laughed as Brant handed her the pop that had fallen out after Kyle hit the machine, .

“You feeling okay?” Brant questioned, squeezing her hand lightly in his. He knew that she was upset, he could tell by the look on her face as she looked away from him. “Hey, are you okay?”

“I’m fine,” she assured him as she looked up into his worried eyes, “I am just worried you know. I think every single one of us are. I just hate to see everyone like this.”

“I know, me too,” Brant agreed with a small frown, leaning forward to hug her lightly in his arms, “If I could fix everything--I would. I just wish I could take everyone’s pain away.”

“Same goes for me,” Sarah smirked, letting out a small sigh, “I really wish I could.”

“Kyle will be okay,” Brant assured her with a small frown as he held her in his arms, “He is just upset, but he will get over it. I promise.”

“You obviously don’t know Kyle,” Sarah laughed, shaking her head slowly, “He never lets things like this off his mind. He always blames himself over these types of things.”

“He’ll realize that he had nothing to do with this,” Brant sighed, looking behind Sarah to see if he could see anyone, “Everyone will get better soon.”


“Thanks for the game,” Kellen smiled as he stood up from the table after playing about twenty card games with Kipp, “I should probably get going.”

“You sure?” Kipp wondered, seeing Kellen nod slowly. “I mean we could play another game of cards if you would like to.”

“Well, I feel like I have basically moved in since I have been around here so much,” Kellen snickered, shrugging his shoulders as Kipp stood up, “I would think that you would probably be getting tired of me right about now.”

“Hardly,” Kipp shook his head slowly, folding his arms out in front of his chest, “In fact I don’t mind you staying around. I really like having you around.”

“Well, it’s nice to be around you too,” Kellen agreed with a small smirk, “It’s nice to have a good friend to trust and depend on. I love that I get to spend time with Charles and you. It just makes my day when I see you two.”

“In that case,” Kipp began with a wide smile, “Since we enjoy each other’s company so much, how about you stick around for dinner. That is--if you are interested.”

“Really?” Kellen questioned as Kipp nodded slowly before Kellen let out a small laugh. “You should already know my answer. I would love to stay for dinner.”

“Good,” Kipp sighed, looking back towards the kitchen, “Only on one condition though.”

“Sure, anything,” Kellen agreed before shrugging his shoulders, “What is that one condition?”

“You have to help me cook dinner,” Kipp answered seeing Kellen’s eyes get big, “That’s the one thing you must do.”

“I’m not much of a chef,” Kellen informed Kipp, biting down on his bottom lip, “I just don’t want to ruin a perfect dinner.”

“Don’t worry,” Kipp winked, rubbing his hands together as he walked to the kitchen and Kellen followed him, “We will cook together. No one will screw up alone, if there is a screw up--it will be a screw up that we made together.”

“I guess I like the sound of that,” Kellen shrugged with a small sigh, “Well, what are we going to cook?”

“Not sure yet,” Kipp sighed, looking through the cupboards before looking back at Kellen, “You know, I was thinking. Why end the night on dinner? How about we have an all night hang out? You can camp out on the couch if you would like to.”

“Are you sure?” Kellen questioned seeing Kipp nod slowly. “Well, in that case. I would absolutely love to sleep over tonight.”

“Good,” Kipp smirked, motioning Kellen to come over towards the cupboards, “Not help me pick something out to eat.”


Heather paced around the hallway thinking about that little witch who was trying to seduce Diego. It just wasn’t right, she reasoned knowing full well that had Cori not interrupted her talk with Diego, then Heather would be with him right now. They would be working through their problems at right this very moment. All would be on the right track, but no that little twit had to walk up and stake her claim in Diego. Well, if she thought that Diego was hers for the night, she had another thing coming, Heather decided stomping over to Cori’s hotel room ready to bust the door down.

“No,” she reminded herself aloud. She took a step away from the door, “If you do that, then Diego is going to be upset. He’s going to think you’re desperate and needy and that’s not what you want.”

She started to pace around the hallway feeling a bit perplexed in the moment. She hated the idea of what was going on inside that hotel room--hated it more than words could begin to explain, yet if she acted irrational and impulsively, Diego would respond with anger. He’d be furious with her and that would only further drive him into Cori’s arms. She needed some kind of plan.

“A plan,” Heather mouthed to herself trying to come up with some quick scheme to get Diego out of that room. She spotted the fire alarm down the hallway and inspiration hit. She took a few steps forward before stopping herself. No that would never work. Diego would come out and discover that she was the one who pulled the alarm and all hell would break loose. Okay, so sure she might be able to try to duck out on the stairs, but the chances of her getting away with that kind of stunt unnoticed were very slim.

“So now what?” she asked herself, her eyes darting to the door again. She had to stop whatever Diego was getting himself into with Cori. She had to talk some kind of sense into him. He had to see that he’d be making a big mistake in being with Cori when it was so blatantly obvious that he and Heather had more than unfinished business with one another. They’d been around one another during a time when she’d had no one else. Diego was her rock--her biggest supporter at times and oddly enough the only real friend she had in Coral Valley.

“That’s it,” Heather decided tucking her ice bucket under her arm as thoughts of plummeting it onto Cori’s head flashed through her mind. She was going to try to be civilized. She could always knock on the door and say she needed Diego--that something was wrong. No, that wouldn’t work. He’d never buy that. He’d think it was a ploy, which it was, but still. She stood still a moment longer. There just had to be a way to be civilized and…

“To hell with being civilized,” she huffed impatiently, “You’ve never taken that road before, so why start now? Diego is yours and Cori needs to learn to back off.”

Empowered by that thought Heather marched towards the door trying to think of something that would catch Diego’s attention. She looked to the ice bucket in hand and a wicked smirk spread over her features. She raised it up, pulling it back and found herself ready to launch it right through Cori’s door. That would certainly cause a stir and wouldn’t it be wonderful if it accidentally hit that little twit in the head? Yes, that was a wonderful plan indeed. Only Diego would surely hate her for it.

“Damn it!” Heather cursed spinning around and sending the ice bucket flying down the hallway with a huff. She let out a slow growl spinning around when she heard a strange grunting sound.

She turned around to see a hotel room door open coming from the direction of where she’d thrown the ice bucket--except instead of it hitting a door, it slammed into someone’s chest. Chris Foley’s chest to be exact.

She watched a breath shoot out of his lips before he let out a small yelp. His eyes widened and he turned to see who had sent the bucket in his general direction. His pain seemed to melt away as a cocky grin replaced his angry scowl. He stood taller holding the ice bucket out towards her.

“Well isn’t this a lovely surprise,” he grinned wildly down at her. He took a step towards her much to her dismay. He waved the ice bucket at her, “I believe this is yours.”

She groaned finding herself at a loss as she threw her hands up in the air, “What else could go wrong?”

Chris chuckled at her knack for dramatics. “You know we really shouldn’t keep meeting like this. Although I knew you couldn’t get enough of me. To what do I owe this honor?””

“More like this displeasure,” she scoffed back at him with a glare.

“Displeasure,” he scratched his chin lightly, “Well that’s a step up from our last meeting considering that you seemed rather upset with me. Displeasure has the word pleasure in it which means I elicit some kind of reaction out of you which is always good. Then to think of how you threw this at me with such passion and venom…”

“I wasn’t aiming for you,” she huffed indignantly her eyes returning to Cori’s hotel room door. If only she could find a way to get Diego away from Cori even now…

“Hmm, well in that case your aim is way off,” Chris teased further realizing that she was no longer paying any attention to him. Come to think of it her eyes were kind of putting a hole in the door in front of her. He stepped in closer to her leaning his head over her shoulder curiously, “What are we looking at? What’s in there?”

“Your head through the door if you don’t back off,” she warned sharply, her words full of venom.

“Hmm, feisty,” he couldn’t help but tease leaning in closer to her, “Did I ever tell you I happen to find a woman incredibly attractive when she’s got a chip on her shoulder?”

“And did I ever tell you that you’re about to have my fist down your throat if you don’t shut up?” she growled up at him.

“Hmm, well I suppose I might be into a little sadomasochistic activity there, but only if you ask nicely,” he winked down at her eliciting a groan from behind her lips.

“Oh, will you just leave?” she threw her hands in the air, “I mean what else can go wrong tonight? First I have to deal with the hassles that come with the little weasel trying to manipulate the system into keeping me away from my son, then that little slut tries to seduce Diego and tear him away from me and now you…”

“Hmm, well I can’t account for the other two, but if you’d like I could buy you a drink and we could talk. Perhaps I could persuade you into believing that you and I aren’t such ill-fated friends after all. I’m a rather good listener and…” he started to explain feeling Heather wrench her ice bucket out of his arms.

“I give up,” Heather snarled marching towards her hotel room once again.

“I take that it’s a no tonight on that drink,” Chris offered up seeing her open up her hotel room door, “Perhaps we could take a rain check.”

Heather groaned turning around to glare at him for the briefest of moments. She launched her ice bucket at his head, this time with complete aim and direction upon him. He barely escaped injury as the ice bucket whizzed by his head. He ducked down hearing the slam overhead before Heather closed her door with a resonating bang.

Looking at the ice bucket at his feet, Chris cleared his throat and stood taller. He looked around the hallway seeing that a couple of hotel guests had stepped out of their rooms to see what was going on. He waved at one of them before bending down to scoop up the bucket in his arms. Letting out a small laugh Chris tucked the ice bucket under his arm thinking about the raw, burning animosity behind Heather’s eyes as she threw it at him.

“Yep, she’s definitely warming up to me. I can tell,” Chris grinned widely whistling a tune as he found himself intrigued with the idea of getting closer to Heather Gibbons. First a glass of scotch over his head, then the ice bucket. Perhaps next time he’d wind up with a concussion, but if push came to shove on that matter, he’d certainly expect a date. Yes, a date would have to be in order after that. Though at this rate he estimated in a week or so, he’d be able to get it. Heather was warming up to him. He could feel it.


“Are you okay?” Cori wondered, running her hand along the back of Diego’s neck slowly as he sat on the edge of the bed.

“I’m fine,” Diego assured her with a small smirk, pulling her closer to him, “Let me show you how fine I really am.”

“I like the sound of that,” Cori laughed as Diego slowly leaned her back onto the bed before getting above her carefully.

His mouth hovered hers as his hand ran along the side of her hip, urging her body in closer to his. As he kissed her slowly, his fingertips ran over the top button of her blouse before popping it open.

“Hold on just one second,” Cori held her finger up in the air as she moved out from under Diego after hearing her cell phone begin to ring. “Hello. “

“Hey my darling little sister,” Dave smiled widely, as he heard his sister’s voice, “How are you doing at this very point in time?”

“Alright, what do you want?” Cori wondered, noticing the obvious attempt at not trying to be sarcastic. “What happened to Dave?”

“Okay, okay,” Dave sighed, rubbing the back of his neck lightly, “I need to tell you something, but promise you won’t freak.”

“I won’t freak,” Cori replied quickly, sitting up straighter on the edge of the bed, “What is it? What do you need to tell me?”

“I’m getting married to Carly,” Dave blurted out as he heard silence from Cori, “I wanted you to be there for me. I couldn’t think of anyone else I would want to join me more. So, what do you think?”

“I think you are nuts,” Cori retorted, with a bit of disgust behind her voice, “What do you think you are doing? Why would you do something like that.”

“I thought you said you wouldn’t freak,” Dave pointed out as Cori shook her head slowly, feeling Diego rub her shoulders slowly.

“I am not freaking,” Cori squealed, holding one of her hands up in the air, “This isn’t freaking. I don’t know what you are doing. How could you do something to yourself like that, you know you are going to get hurt.”

“I’ll be fine Cori,” Dave insisted, shaking his head slowly at her comment, “Listen, I have to get going--so I will talk to you later to give you details.”

“Fine,” Cori hung up the phone angrily, as Diego squeezed her shoulder before she looked back at him, “That was Dave.”

“I figured,” Diego nodded slowly before arching his eyebrows at the way she was acting, “So, what has you so freaked out?”

“I am not freaked,” Cori replied, holding her hands up in the air, “I don’t get it. Dave wants to make the mistake of marrying Carly. He actually wants to marry her.”

“Is that a bad thing?” Diego wondered seeing her nod slowly. “Well, if he is happy, isn’t that good enough?”

“No,” Cori shook her head slowly before whispering to herself, “This isn’t going to happen, I won’t let it happen. I’ll find a way to stop this one if I have to. My brother isn’t going to get hurt again.”


“Grady you need to calm down,” Avery insisted watching Grady kick at the garbage can in front of him. It was one of those oversized cement ones so all that action accomplished was him hurting his foot. She watched him wince before trying to shake it off. “I’m sure we’ll hear something soon.”

“Yeah we’ll hear that Jade’s dead--that I lost her and was never able to say good-bye. She’s gone and…”

“You don’t know that. We don’t know anything at this point,” Avery spoke up encouragingly. “All we know is that there was a woman in there…”

“With Jade’s necklace on. Avery, think about it. Susan would do anything to spite me. She knew how much I loved Jade--how much I wanted to share the rest of my life with her,” he sighed heavily his eyes clouded with tears. “If I lose her…”

“Grady, we have to keep hoping that this isn’t going to turn out that way,” Avery offered up still not sure if that could happen herself. She stepped in closer to him, “We don’t know anything at this point. This could be a misunderstanding of sorts.”

“And if it’s not? What then Avery?” Grady questioned somberly unable to contain his worries a moment longer.

“I don’t know Grady, but whatever happens from here on out we’ll get through this together,” she promised reaching out to embrace him as she prayed that things wouldn’t end badly after the woman’s body had been identified. She just hoped that somehow--that someway Grady hadn’t had the love of his life taken from him the way she had Russ ripped out of her life. Fate couldn’t be that cruel, could it?


“Seth, you have to calm down,” Blake hushed Seth as he sat down on the bench outside the police station, “It might make you feel better.”

“I can’t feel possible any better Blake,” Seth frowned, taking in a deep breath, “I can’t stop thinking about Jade. If that woman is her, what am I going to do? How am I going to live without my little sister?”

“Everything is going to be okay,” Blake promised, running her hand along his shoulder lightly, “You need to take it all in slowly.”

“I can’t take this type of thing in slowly,” Seth frowned, resting his head in his hands lightly, “We were so close to her Blake and yet we all couldn’t see it. I can’t believe that she is gone.”

“You don’t know if she is gone Seth,” she protested, shaking her head slowly as she saw the redness building up behind Seth’s eyes, “No one knew that Susan would be like this. No one knew that this kind of thing would have been possible.”

“Well it was,” he pointed out as she wrapped her arms around his shoulders, holding him tightly, “I let her down again Blake. First, when she was raped. I should have been there to protect her, but I wasn’t. Now, I did it again. If we would have just waited for her instead of leaving her behind, she would have been safe. I could have helped her.”

“No one could have stopped this from happening,” Blake stated as he shook his head slowly.

“Everything can be stopped somehow, someway,” Seth replied, folding his hands in his lap, “I could have been there for her. I could have saved her Blake. Now, I just let her get away from us. I let her out of my grasp.”

“Seth, you never failed Jade,” Blake frowned, tracing her fingers along the back of his neck slowly, “You have never failed Jade.”

“Yes, I have,” Seth declared, biting down on his bottom lip, “I failed her when she was younger, just this time--I have failed her even more, but far worse.”

“As long as you keep believing Seth,” Blake began, seeing his eyes and how they seemed to just drift off as he thought, “You just have to believe and trust that she is alive.”

“I wish I could,” Seth sighed, shaking his head slowly, “I really wish that I could do that, but it’s not going to happen until I have evidence that she is still here with me.”


“I can’t believe that all this time we were pointing the finger in Cameron’s direction, yet right under our noses Susan was doing all of this,” Brant paced around the lobby thinking of all the chaos that surrounded Susan Hastings and her madness. He looked over to Sarah seeing she was still clearly shaken, “Hey are you sure you’re going to be okay?”

“What choice do I have,” Sarah shrugged forcing a small, strained smile, “I mean I can either lose myself to reality like I said before, or I can just deal with what I have now and hope I can pull it together. Though when I think about what that witch did--about how close it came to being Kyle that she killed…”

“She didn’t get that chance,” Brant spoke up encouragingly stepping closer to her once again.

“I know, but when I think of what I say,” she shook her head, “Something like that is hard to ignore. I mean to think of the person you love in that kind of situation--in bed with someone who drugged and manipulated them in the hopes of hurting them for their own sick and twisted pleasures…”

“It’s not right. It’s not right at all and mark my words Sarah, she’s going to pay for this--for all of this,” Brant offered up in consolation knowing that once Susan resurfaced she would have hell to pay for the lives she’d destroyed.

“You can bank on that,” Kyle announced stomping up towards them, “I’m going to kill her myself if I ever see her again.”

“Kyle,” Sarah spun around to see him, noticing the way his face seemed to be twisted with rage. She could tell by his breathing that he was upset--beyond angry and as she stepped towards him, she felt him push away from her.

“She’s a dead woman,” he mouthed clenching his fists at his sides, “She’s not going to be able to talk her way out of this one. I’ll make damn sure of that.”

“Kyle you need to calm down,” Sarah saw his face growing red with emotion, “You need to try to relax and…”

“The hell with relaxing,” Kyle roared causing Sarah to jump back a bit at his tone, “That woman is going to wish she never crossed paths with any of us by the time I’m through with her.”

“Stand in line Kyle because I want the first stab at her,” Grady added moving into the lobby with Avery at his side.

“What’s going on?” Seth questioned walking in with Blake from the other end of the lobby, “Have they said anything yet?”

“No, nothing,” Brant shook his head seeing the worry behind his sister’s fiancé’s eyes. “But maybe soon…”

“No news could be good news,” Blake offered up squeezing Seth’s arm supportively.

“In this case I’m not so sure about that,” Grady frowned watching as the medical examiner walked into the room. He moved forward shaking his head and as his eyes carried a solemn expression, the mood in the room shifted from anger to great concern.

“Well, what did you find,” Grady couldn’t help but ask after the seconds of silence began to suffocate him.

“I’m sorry,” the man shook his head tilting his eyes towards Seth’s, “we ran the DNA sample against the one you’d given us and I’m afraid it came back a match.”

“What?” Seth’s jaw dropped in horror. He shook his head adamantly unable to believe what he was hearing, “No, that’s not possible. That can’t be right.”

“I’m afraid so,” the man sighed heavily, “I wish that I didn’t have to be the one to tell you this, but as far as the tests in there go, the woman that was pulled from that fire is in fact Jade Alexander. I’m so sorry.”

“No,” Grady shook his head, “No. It’s not her. It can’t be her…”

“Grady,” Avery touched his shoulder gently feeling the memory of her pain return to her. She closed her eyes thinking back to the moment when they’d told her that Russ died and it seemed that history was repeating itself in the most horrible way.

“She can’t be gone. I couldn’t have lost her…no…” Grady trailed off lost in his own grief now that the medical examiner had delivered the final blow to his aching heart. Susan had succeeded in her madness. The only person in the world that mattered was gone. Jade was dead. His child was dead and suddenly nothing made sense. Everything was numb--a hollow emptiness of the life that he’d once known.


...to be continued...