Episode 248

“Deidra, you don’t have to put up with this. I can have him leave and…” Dave started reaching out to pull Dean out of the area.

“No, he can stay,” Deidra blurted out before she had time to think about it. She moved in closer towards Dean, her eyes falling to his abdomen where she’d stabbed him. She let out an involuntary shudder remembering only too well how terrified she’d been when they were alone at that cabin with one another. Her mind flashed back to seeing the photos--to the expression on his face when she’d twisted the letter opener inside of him and immediately guilt swept down upon her like the weight of the world on her shoulders.

“Deidra, you have no reason to keep him here,” Dave reminded her simply shoving Dean aside to move in closer to her holding cell. He reached for her hand urging her to meet his eyes, “He’s no one you have to say a word to. I can call Carly back and…”

“No I want to,” Deidra announced her dark eyes straying over to where Dean stood in the dimmed lighting just beyond her jail cell. She could see the bruise on the side of his face from when she’d hit him with the lamp, but there was no mistaking just how handsome he was. Even now after all the lies and the deceptions, she couldn’t help but feel a twinge of something at seeing him again. She remembered full well the way it had felt to be with him--to lose all of her inhibitions when they were together and yet knowing how wrong it had been, she couldn’t help but long to be lost in her ignorance once again.

“See I told you there was nothing to worry about Warner,” Dean pushed his way past Dave to move in front of Deidra, “I know that you’re upset, but I really need to speak with you. If we can have a few minutes alone with one another…”

“Absolutely not. No damn way,” Dave huffed impatiently already having had enough of the FBI pushing it’s weight around town. “If you think that I’m going to leave you alone with Deidra only to cause her more grief, then you’ve got another thing coming. There’s no way that…”

“Dave please,” Deidra begged of him throwing out a pleading expression to her best friend, “I need to do this.”

“But…” Dave found himself at a loss seeing the urgency behind her eyes. He stepped forward lowering his voice to a small whisper, “Are you sure about this? Really, really sure?”

She nodded, “Yeah, I think there are a few things that I need to say to Dean as well and it’s better if we have this talk alone. Please…”

Dave hated the idea--loathed it beyond anything he’d imagined, yet knowing how important it was to Deidra he took a reluctant step back. He motioned to the doorway a few feet from where they were all standing.

“I’ll be out there if you should need me,” Dave promised pushing his way past Dean and hitting him in the process in the shoulder.

Dean ignored the obvious jab while attempting to keep his focus in the situation. He looked to Deidra seeing her dark eyes gazing up at him expectantly as if she was waiting for him to say all the wrong things or was that a faint glimmer behind her eyes wishing that he could somehow make this all better? Did she feel the same pain and misery in being apart that he’d felt from the moment she’d run out on him? Would she be willing to forgive and forget? It seemed that there was only one way to find out that answer at this point. He had nothing to lose by trying and everything to gain.


“Are you just going to stand there and look at me like that or are you actually going to do something?” Don questioned after a few moments of silence. “Do you love me or not Shannon? It’s a very easy question if you actually love someone. Which is leading me to believe that you don’t love me at all.”

“Don, I care for you,” Shannon tried to explain, searching for words to describe what she felt for him. Her words were all disappearing as she looked up into his saddened blue eyes. “I don’t know Don, I just don’t know.”

“How can you not know?” Don questioned in an upset tone. He stood there for a moment, just shaking his head slowly. “I love you Shannon, I love you a lot. Doesn’t my love mean a little something to you?”

“It would,” Shannon stopped herself before going any further, “You hardly even know me Don, you don’t love me.”

“I know how I feel, it‘s my own feelings,” Don snapped, throwing his hands up in the air, “You can’t tell me that I don’t love you Shannon. If you would just stop being stupid for a minute, you would realize that I love you. People might say I am stupid for loving you, but I love you for you Shannon. I have had a long enough time to get to know you. I love your sweet side, I love your wild side, and heck--I even love your stubborn side. Can most people say that about you Shannon?”

“Probably not,” Shannon let out a small smirk, looking up to see the expression of his features. “I don’t know what you want me to say Don.”

“I want to know the truth,” Don replied shaking his head slowly, resting his hands on his hips, “I want to know if you love me as much as I love you. Is my love for you hopeless? Am I just wishing for something that is never going to happen? Or are we actually going to move on and be together?”

“I really don’t know what to say Don,” Shannon explained, thinking of something to say, “I am really confused about all this. It happened so sudden.”

“Well, it did happen really fast,” Don agreed letting out a small sigh, “but I’ve have spent some time with you and I realized that I love you. I haven’t loved someone this much in a long time and the good thing is, my son loves you just as much as I do--maybe even more. I know I’m probably not the dream guy you’ve always wanted and hoped for, but I can try to be that person. I would do anything for you Shannon.”

“Don, you are perfect,” Shannon insisted, seeing him shrug his shoulders, “You don’t have to change yourself at all. You are really a great person.”

“Then would you please tell me what is wrong with me,” Don begged, looking down towards the ground, “Tell me what it is that doesn’t make you want to love me Shannon.”

“Don, it really isn’t you,” Shannon tried to explain, watching as he looked up at her with his saddened eyes. Every time she looked into his blue eyes, her heart melted. No one ever made her feel the way that Don did, but did she truly love him. “It’s me that has something wrong.”

“Oh, here we go with that reply again,” Don rolled his eyes, shaking his head slowly at what she just told him, “When someone says that, it usually means there is something wrong with you. I should know, I used that a lot when I was younger Shannon. I can’t be tricked with that one.”

“I’m not trying to trick you Don, I just don’t know what is wrong with me,” Shannon frowned, running her hand through her hair, “My mind can’t be made up. Sometimes I think I have an answer and then it just kind of slips away. I want to give you an answer Don, I really do.”

“Alright, if you can’t give me that answer,” Don began taking a step forward, “Give me another answer.”

“What do you want to know Don?” Shannon questioned, seeing him take another step forward.

“This,” he replied, grabbing her and pulling her close to his body. He reached his hand up, running his thumb along her cheek gently before leaning down to press a heated kiss above her lips. He felt her arm curl around his broad shoulders tightly as he showed her why he felt the way he did for her. He tore his lips away from hers, his eyes looking up into hers as he still held her tightly in his arms. “Tell me you didn’t feel anything Shannon. Tell me that you don’t feel anything when I hold you in my arms and when I kiss you. Because if you tell me you don’t feel anything, then I know it’s finally the time to give up on what we have.”


“Go ahead, ask me what you want Sarah,” Kyle began, pushing himself up from where he was sitting, “What do you want to know? And make it quick.”

“I want to know why you keep pushing everyone away,” Sarah stated, following him into the middle of the living room, “You should be with someone who is going to help you.”

“Help me,” Kyle let out a small chuckle, shaking his head slowly, “I don’t think anyone is capable of helping me Sarah. The person I trusted the most in this world turned their back on me and proved to me that my friendship meant nothing to him.”

“I don’t think that was what he was trying to prove Kyle,” Sarah tried to explain for Grady, shrugging her shoulders, “I think Grady, was just really hurt and…”

“No one deserves to die Sarah,” Kyle pointed out with a small scowl, “Especially not someone carrying my child. Grady knew fully well that Susan was having my child and still, he did nothing. I’ve done so many things for Grady and he couldn’t even do this one thing in return.”

“I’m sure Grady wants to still be there for you Kyle,” Sarah insisted before he cut her off angrily.

“No, people want us to apologize and get along,” he corrected her, rolling his eyes at her comment, “What do you want me to do Sarah? Go up to Grady and hey, you let my child die, but I still want to be your best buddy. Is that what you want me to say?”

“You don’t have to be sarcastic,” Sarah pointed out, watching him shake his head slowly, “You know, you could always be the bigger man and do something about this.”

“Be the bigger man?” Kyle questioned with a small laugh, shaking his head. “I have proven that time and time again. I know that I am a better person than Grady, I don’t have to prove that. I think you know yourself that I am the bigger man Sarah. In more ways than one.”

“That’s why I don’t get why you are acting like this,” she replied, frowning as Kyle folded his arms out in front of his chest and looked at her with his angered eyes. “You should open up to someone Kyle, you shouldn’t be alone.”

“Like I want to spend my time with people right now,” Kyle snapped, shaking his head slowly, “Every single one of them have been pampering Grady. Heck, the only person who truly proved to me that they were actually an okay person was Brant. But everyone else, they are all pampering Grady, assuring him that everything is going to be okay. They are all telling him that Kyle is the bad guy, Kyle is the one that did all the wrong.”

“Kyle, I understand what you are going through,” Sarah explained shaking her head slowly, “but you can’t let this get to you. I know that Avery loves you and still wants to be there for you.”

“Of course everyone loves me,” Kyle chuckled shaking his head slowly, “but I’m the bad guy right now Sarah. Isn’t that obvious? I mean, sure Avery loves me, but does she really? I could bet you a lot of money that I know where she is right now. I would have to say that she is holding Grady in her arms telling him that everything is okay. Even saying that she thinks I am the bad guy, the way she acted towards me at the hospital proved that. Her husband came to talk to me and surprisingly guess where she was? She was with Grady. And even as I look into your eyes right now, I can see as well that you are thinking the same thing everyone else is. You think I was the one that was wrong.”

“That’s not true Kyle,” Sarah stated, shaking her head slowly, “That’s not even close to being true.”

“Bull,” Kyle rolled his eyes, shaking his head slowly, “You think I’m stupid for even caring that Susan died. Sarah, my child died and no one cares. All they care about is Grady. No one realizes what I’m going through, what I am feeling. Even if you tried, you wouldn’t understand.”

“Then let me understand Kyle,” she pleaded, reaching out to touch his arm gently, “Just tell me how you are feeling.”

“I can’t trust anyone with how I am feeling,” Kyle bit down on his bottom lip, shaking his head slowly, “That was proven to me. I can’t trust anyone.”

“You can trust me Kyle,” she insisted, taking a step forward towards him to pull him into a hug, “I love you Kyle, more than I love anything in this world.”

“I know,” Kyle nodded, holding her tighter in his arms remembering what Brant told him about losing Sarah. He would really go nuts if he ever lost her. “That’s why I am trying to keep you away from me. I don’t want you hurt Sarah, I love you and I don’t want to see you get hurt because of what is going on with me. It would be better if you just gave up on me now Sarah.”

“Why would I do that?” Sarah questioned with a small frown, leaning back to reach her hand up to touch his face gently. “If I gave up on you, I would be giving up on everything else in this world.”

“But I’m turning into a bad person Sarah,” Kyle insisted, seeing her shake her head slowly, “If you truly believe in me, then you have to be the only person in this world that does.”

“Kyle, I fell in love with you because you were a great person,” she informed him with a small smile, “I fell in love with you because you were a hero Kyle, you always have been.”

“Then why do I feel like the evil villain? Why is everyone treating me like the asshole?” Kyle questioned with a small frown, “The people I love most in this world keep turning their backs on me, proving to me that no matter how much of a good person you are, you’re never good enough.”

“They don’t understand Kyle,” Sarah tried to explain, “They don’t understand like I do. I know that it hurts, but you can’t let everyone else get to you.”

“It’s not them that’s getting to me Sarah, it’s two things specifically,” Kyle explained with a small frown, shaking his head slowly, “One is the fact that my best friend proved to me that he doesn’t care and secondly it’s the fact that no matter how much I try to push everyone away from me, I still can’t push you away.”

“That’s a good thing,” Sarah replied before feeling him bend down to press his lips up against hers lightly. She felt him pull her in closer to him, holding her tightly as he deepened their kiss.

“I don’t know what I would do if I ever lost you Sarah,” Kyle whispered, leaning his forehead against hers after pulling away from the kiss.

“You’re never going to lose me Kyle,” Sarah insisted with a small smirk, feeling his thumb caressing her cheek lightly, “If right now doesn’t prove that to you, then I don’t know what will. I just wish you would tell me what’s on your mind.”

“You really want to know?” Kyle questioned, seeing her nod slowly as agreed to tell her. “Well, obviously I can’t believe Grady did what he did, but something more bothers me. It’s the fact that before Susan told me she was pregnant, I felt the same way Grady did. I felt like she didn’t deserve to live and that makes me a bad person because when she told she was pregnant, it made me rethink. I think about everything I could have done with my son or daughter and that upsets me--a lot. I never loved Susan and I would never if she didn’t die, but my child didn’t deserve to die.”

“You’re not a bad person Kyle and I would probably be feeling the same things you are right now,” Sarah insisted with a small sigh, “I know it hurts that your child died, but it isn’t your last chance to have a baby Kyle.”

“What’s that supposed to mean?” Kyle questioned with a small smirk. “Do you have something you’re keeping from me?”

“No, I didn’t mean it like that,” Sarah replied with a small laugh, “I mean, eventually we can have a baby together. All you have to do is get better Kyle.”

“I’m better Sarah, I just don’t understand why someone I would die for turned their back on me,” Kyle let out a deep sigh, shaking his head slowly, “Grady was like a brother to me and I can’t believe he did this to me. His brother wouldn’t have, Russ would have done something. He would have saved my child.”

“And I’m sure Grady is feeling really bad at this point in time for what he’s done,” Sarah insisted, seeing him shake his head slowly.

“No, he doesn’t,” Kyle explained with a frown, still holding her in his arms, “This is game to Grady, he’s won and he is going to gloat. That’s how he always plays, he doesn’t care how other people are feeling.”

“I wouldn’t go as far as saying that he thinks it a game Kyle,” Sarah frowned, her eyes looking up into his as he sighed. “I don’t think Grady is that bad.”

“Sarah, you are the type of person who wants to believe that everyone has a good side and I believe that deep down--Grady does,” Kyle began, searching for words to say, “but he’s always played games. His life is a game. He can’t ever be a friend, he’s the person who turns on people and doesn’t have a second thought about it.”

“I’m sure that he isn’t like that Kyle,” Sarah repeated what she had already said, feeling Kyle reach his hand up to caress her cheek gently, “I think that Grady will eventually cave in and realize that you are one of the people who were there for him the most--he’ll apologize.”

“I wish you were right Sarah, I wish I had the old Grady back--the one who actually cared about what happened to me, but it’s not going to happen,” Kyle stated, shaking his head slowly, “Not everyone is like you Sarah. You are one of the few people that I actually understand in this world.”

“Which is why you should have known I wouldn’t leave you today,” Sarah pointed out with a small smirk, feeling him give her a small kiss on the lips.

“I figured as much,” Kyle smirked, kissing her again, “I was just thinking really dumbly I guess. I was thinking about my parents again today.”

“Really?” Sarah questioned, looking up at him as he nodded slowly. “What about?”

“Long story,” Kyle sighed, shaking his head slowly, “Let’s just say it’s nothing good.”


Diego’s gaze lingered over to the modest looking home before him. He’d remembered a time when great happiness and joy had surrounded that place--back when Russell Denton was still alive and ready to begin his life with Avery, but ever since Russell’s death it seemed that his one time home had become a place for misery to follow. Avery had moved into the Ashford mansion and now that Kyle and Sarah were inside talking about what had taken place the previous evening Diego couldn’t help but wonder if all those inside the walls of the Denton home would ever find peace and happiness in their lives.

Diego sighed leaning back in his seat as he wondered if he’d made a wise decision in staying outside. He’d wanted to be there for Sarah especially after her and Kyle’s estrangement had left her feeling miserable, yet he knew full well that they needed their privacy. It was the not knowing what was going on inside those walls that had him worried however.

He reached for his door handle ready to move in for a closer look when the sound of his phone ringing captured his attention. He pulled it out of his pocket and immediately recognized the number. He was tempted not to answer, but then thought twice of it.

“Yes Heather, what can I do for you,” Diego questioned in a neutral voice trying not to give his worries away.

“I was hoping that you could come on over this way and see me,” she began in a small, eager voice, “I mean that is if you aren’t too tied up with your…girlfriend…”

“Actually,” Diego shifted uneasily in the driver’s side seat of his car. He eyed the Denton home uneasily wondering if things were going okay inside between Kyle and Sarah.

“Actually what,” she couldn’t help but ask her own curiosity getting the best of her, “Diego, where are you?”

“I’m with Sarah,” he revealed almost wishing he hadn’t when he was met by a silence, “Heather, are you still there?”

“Yeah I’m here,” she paused not quite sure how to respond to that, “but I can’t help but ask. What are you doing with Sarah? Where is she?”

“She’s trying to talk to Kyle,” Diego paused thinking about whether or not he should divulge any information to Heather. He was tempted to stay silent, but in remembering that he and Heather had once confided in one another about a great many things he couldn’t help but speak up, “She’s worried about him.”

“You mean after what Susan did to him,” Heather questioned worry evident in her tone, “Is he alright or have the doctors found something else out? Did something change?”

“Yes, but not like you’re thinking,” he hesitated briefly, “Heather, Susan is dead.”

“Dead,” she repeated another long silence following, “well I can’t say that I’m sorry to see her go.”

“She was pregnant,” Diego blurted out uneasily remembering the pain in Sarah’s eyes when she’d learned that detail that had pushed Kyle over the edge.

“With Kyle’s baby,” Heather deduced sensing something about the tone in his voice, “Oh my God. How is Kyle doing? Is he alright? I mean okay I know that’s a stupid question. He’s got to be a nervous wreck right about now. Where is he?”

“He’s inside the house with Sarah, but the truth is he’s taking this pretty hard. Even after Susan hurt him, he’s lost in the idea of having a child and…”

“To Kyle that was everything,” Heather explained to Diego remembering the time she’d spent with Kyle growing up, “He was always very big on family and after he lost his parents in a tragic accident, well he’s always been the kind of guy who had dreamt big. You know the whole family and the happily ever after with the two point five children and a dog or two kind of dream?”

“You mean the one that most of us have,” Diego thought aloud feeling an ironic tickle at the back of his throat as he remembered only too well how he’d lost that dream so very long ago.

“The one I tried to avoid forever before I had Charles,” Heather added ponderously her thoughts lingering to her son, “Diego, if I know Kyle chances are he’s beating himself up about this right about now. He’s pushing Sarah away and it can only mean that he’s lost.”

“Sarah’s hoping that she can help him through it. I want to give them space, but…” he replied remembering the way Kyle and Sarah had parted ways last night.

“But it’s not going to happen right away. Kyle’s going to need time and…” she paused her voice seeming more gentle and worried by the second, “God, this must be killing him. I can’t even begin to imagine what he’s going through right now. I mean sure Susan was evil, but…well, something like this is hard on everyone…”

“That it is,” Diego agreed wondering if there would ever be any peace for all of those touched by last night’s chaos. He was starting to believe it wasn’t in the cards anytime soon.


“Are you sure everything is all set with Heather? She won’t like burn the house down?” Kellen questioned with a worried expression as him and Kipp went for a walk together.

“God I hope not,” Kipp laughed, shaking his head slowly as he glanced over at Kellen to see the worried expression spread across his features, “I’m only playing Kellen, I’m sure that they are going to be just fine.”

“I don’t know,” Kellen sighed, shaking his head slowly as he thought about Heather and what he knew about her, “She isn’t known for being the nicest person in the world.”

“No, she’s not, but I can feel that she is different around Charles,” Kip replied with a small shrug, “She seems to be doing good with him.”

“Right,” Kellen nodded slowly, gulping down as he thought about Kipp saying they really needed to talk, “So, you said you wanted to talk about something.”

“Oh, right,” Kipp nodded slowly with a small frown, “Well, I guess you could say it’s about our--relationship.”

“Relationship?” Kellen questioned worriedly, almost blurting out his words. “You’re going to break up with me aren’t you? I knew I shouldn’t have told you I didn’t like Heather.”

“Kellen calm down,” Kipp laughed, reaching out to touch his shoulder lightly, “I wasn’t going to break up with you or anything like that. I was actually hoping we could talk about making our relationship stronger.”

“Really?” Kellen smiled, feeling his heart slow down and begin to beat at a normal pace. “Well, what do you want to talk about?”

“Well, I was just thinking of some questions I should ask,” Kipp began with a small shrug, “Are you going to be moving in with me?”

“I basically already live there,” Kellen pointed out with a small smile seeing Kipp smile and nod slowly, “If you want me to, I could go home and give you some space.”

“No, that’s not what I want,” Kipp assured him with a small laugh, “I want to spend as much time as I can with you. If that’s alright with you.”

“That’s perfectly fine with me,” Kellen nodded quickly with a small laugh, “I wouldn’t want to spend any time less with you Kipp.”

“That’s how I want you to feel,” Kipp insisted, reaching out to grab Kellen’s hand in his tightly, “I want you to feel safe with me. I want you to be able to trust me.”

“I do trust you Kipp,” Kellen insisted, nodding his head quickly, “I mean I trust you more than anyone in this world.”

“No, I mean I really want you to be able to trust me,” Kipp replied, shrugging his shoulders, “I want you to feel comfortable with me around Heather because I want you to know that I want you--not her.”

“Okay,” Kellen thought for a moment, not knowing what to say, “You really think that way Kipp?”

“Of course,” Kipp chuckled, squeezing Kellen’s hand tighter in his, “Why would I want a side dish like her when I have a gourmet meal right next to me?”

“Okay, you’re pushing it a little bit,” Kellen laughed, shaking his head slowly, “but now that we are on the subject, how about we go for some ice-cream and talk this whole thing over?”

“Sounds good,” Kipp nodded slowly before letting out a small chuckle, “I could go for some ice-cream.”


“So what’s up?” Hart questioned sliding into the booth across from Brant after his friend had called in a bit of an uproar.

“I just needed to get out,” Brant motioned to the waitress signaling for her to refill his glass. She nodded accordingly offering up a flirty smile before Hart leaned in over the table to inspect the glass.

“Please tell me that you’re not doing what I think you’re doing,” Hart’s brow creased with worry, “Brant tell me that it hasn’t come to that.”

“Oh it’s come to that and then some,” Brant finished off the last swig of his drink. He set the frosty glass down, his dark eyes fixed on his friend, “I couldn’t help but give in…”

“Well if you’re giving into that then,” sure enough before Hart could finish his statement the waitress returned with a heaping plate of cheese fries and another drink. “Dr. Pepper and cheese fries? Okay, now I know you’re upset. Talk to me.”

“Look it’s complicated,” Brant reached for a gooey fry on top of the plate before bringing it to his lips, “I mean one minute things are going fine--beyond fine…”

“And then the next you’re in this dump attempting to clog your arteries,” Hart eyed the plate suspiciously before reaching out to steal a fry himself, “but as they say misery loves company, so don’t worry buddy we can get through this together.”

“Yeah easier said than done,” Brant shook his head adjusting his shirt collar before leaning back in his seat, “I mean one minute everything is fine--better than fine. It was perfect until he got involved.”

“He who?” Hart couldn’t help but ask tipping his head to the side. He eyed the cheese fries again reaching for another few of them before waiting for Brant’s answer.

“Grady Denton. That’s who,” Brant remarked in a hiss as the waitress returned to bring Hart the Sprite he’d ordered.

Hart thanked her, taking a small sip of his drink before he responded, “Okay, so what’s up with Grady and why did it bring you to this place to talk to me?”

“He’s out to get my wife. I mean, he’s really, really trying to find a way to turn her against me,” Brant threw his hands up in the air, “and the worst part about it is that I actually think it’s working.”

“How do you figure,” Hart couldn’t help but ask seeing the tension behind Brant’s features, “I mean what’s happened to give you that indication considering that…”

“That what? That Avery rushes off to rescue him each and every time someone challenges him,” Brant cut him off with a groan lifting his glass to his lips again, “I honestly don’t get it Hart. I’ve tried to be patient--tried to be understanding, but does Avery get it? No, of course she doesn’t.”

“Well they’re friends right,” Hart offered up in suggestion.

“Well yes, but…take last night for example. There was this huge blow out,” Brant sat up straighter recounting the details leading up to Susan’s demise. He filled Hart in on the fight between Grady and Kyle leading up to the point where Avery had come rushing over to Grady’s side. “I mean you didn’t see it last night. Everything was falling to pieces and there was a lot happening, yet Avery’s stuck in this place where she’s not understanding the other side of things.”

“You mean with Kyle,” Hart noted taking in everything his friend had shared with him.

“She just doesn’t see that there was a child involved in any of this. I mean yeah I realize that it was the last thing anyone wanted to be thinking about, but at the same time I can’t help but empathize in this particular situation. I mean here is someone who thinks he’s about to become a father and he tries to tell his best friend that, yet his friend completely ignores that possibility and lets the mother of his child die.”

“It’s not good karma,” Hart nodded in agreement lifting his glass to his lips before speaking up further, “I mean yeah I hate Beth--I can’t stand her, but at the same time, when I think about Sam…when I really, really take the time to think about her, well, I can’t even begin to imagine myself not wanting to have her. I mean sure she doesn’t know I’m her father yet, but if there was a chance and you were the one standing there in Grady’s shoes, I would hope that you would try to help me save my daughter.”

“Exactly,” Brant scoffed back at him, “but Avery doesn’t seem to get that part. She’s thinking about all the things that Susan has done to cause trouble, but not about the innocent life that was caught up in all of this.”

“So in other words this is what brought you here tonight. You think by her siding with Grady she’s in the wrong in this situation,” Hart noted eyeing him intently.

“Exactly, but she thinks I’m in the wrong for feeling upset about this situation. She thinks that by my siding with Kyle, I’m just finding an excuse to hate Grady even more than I already do,” Brant replied throwing his hands out in the air. “I mean honestly…”

“Well aren’t you,” Hart couldn’t help but ask. “I mean you just said that he was doing his best to break up your marriage.”

“Well yes, but…” Brant shook his head in response, “I don’t need an excuse to hate Grady. That’s a given for me these days.”

“So if it’s not about hating Grady and not entirely about siding with Kyle, then what is it…” Hart stopped himself, his eyes widening in response, “Wait a second. I know what this is about.”

“Hart,” Brant spoke his name with a firm warning tone.

“It’s about that time when…” Hart began again thinking about a moment from Brant’s past that Brant simply didn’t care to recall.

“It’s about Avery using her head for a change. I think the events of last night are going to impact everyone and for her to always be taking to Grady’s side…” Brant tried to explain himself again.

“I don’t think that’s it,” Hart argued with him, “It runs deeper than that and I’m guessing by your avoiding talking about it, you haven’t told Avery.”

“Why would I bother when I see how she’s reacting to Kyle?” Brant frowned unhappy with the situation all around. “She thinks she’s got it all figured out and that Grady Denton can do no wrong, but she’s forgetting all about the hell he put her through--about the times he hurt her. It’s like since Russ died he’s become her replacement for him.”

“And that’s wherein lies the problem,” Hart nodded with understanding, “You’re afraid she’s going to leave you high and dry without so much as a good-bye.”

“Given all that’s happened with Grady lately,” Brant sighed unable to keep from hiding his worries any longer, “Yeah it is something that bothers me--more than I care to admit.”

“Why don’t you just tell her that,” Hart suggested sipping his drink once again. “Maybe if you two can talk about it, then…”

“Then what?” Brant groaned inwardly, “What am I supposed to tell her? That I forbid her from seeing Grady? My wife is stubborn as all hell. You of all people should know that, so it’s not exactly like we can have a small, casual conversation over this. If I tried, she wouldn’t listen.”

“So why not try another approach,” Hart suggested once again, “I mean there has to be something.”

“At this point it’s looking like no matter what I say or do Grady’s always in the right. I wish it wasn’t that way, but with Avery always running to his aid, it’s like nothing else matters not even us,” Brant sighed heavily wondering if he’d ever be able to compete with Grady Denton where his wife was concerned.


Avery stood outside Grady’s house on his front porch wondering if maybe coming over here was a bad idea. Once Brant had left she’d waited for him to return, but much to her dismay that just wasn’t happening for them. After giving up hope on him returning to talk things through with her, she had grabbed her purse and driven over to Grady’s house. Now that she stood outside his door, she just hoped that somehow he was doing better than he was last night.

Moving to knock, she felt the door slide open revealing an empty living room to her. She stepped forward an uneasiness settling in over her before she looked around. The living room was in a state of chaos, things scattered all over the place in a state of disarray. That’s when she heard a sound rising up from the kitchen.

“Damn it Grady what have you done now,” she mouthed to herself reaching into her purse for the protection she’d carried with her just in case someone else had found their way into his home. She felt the gun Brant had given her just beyond her reach, but instead she opted for the pepper spray just in case Kyle and Grady were going at it once again. One quick blast of the pepper spray was sure to set them both back a few steps while she worked to talk some sense into them. Sure it might be harsh, but so was beating the life out of one another if that’s what Kyle had come back for with Grady.

Avery moved forward cautiously ready to do what she had to in the kitchen when another crashing sound erupted. Frowning she marched inside ready to take care of both men before their animosity towards one another buried them alive, but instead of finding Kyle and Grady with one another, she spotted Grady on the floor somewhere near the island in the center of the kitchen.

“Grady, what are you doing,” she couldn’t help but ask worried about seeing him on the ground. She rushed forward circling around the countertop only to discover him curled over on the ground, his fingers clenched tightly around the neck of a bottle.

“Go away!” Grady groaned pulling himself up off of the ground.

“I most certainly will not go away,” Avery huffed reaching out to tear the scotch bottle from his hand. She felt him yank it backwards, causing her to topple forward onto him. She gasped, her body falling into his chest in the whirlwind of a moment.

“Why Avery, I didn’t know you wanted to get up close and personal with me,” Grady slurred a small smile spreading over his lips as his arm curled around her, “Thanks for thinking about me.”

Avery wrinkled her nose in disgust taking in the strong scent of alcohol over his breath. She turned her head away with a small groan, “Grady you’re drunk.”

“Yep, you’re damn right I am,” he boasted having recaptured the bottle in his hand before holding it out towards her, “Want a sip yourself?”

“Grady, what is wrong with you,” she shook her head at him highly disapproving of what he was doing. She regained her bearings sliding off of his chest before reaching out for the bottle, “What do you think you’re doing?”

“Spending some quality time alone,” he pondered with a heavy sigh, scratching his head as if in a moment of contemplation, “at least I was until you came here, but well, you can leave because I was rather enjoying myself before you arrived.”

“I highly doubt that,” Avery reached out to the counter using it to pull herself up. She offered her hand out to him watching him sit in the center of the floor in protest.

“It doesn’t matter if you believe it or not. It’s just the way it is,” he frowned over at her waving his hand around in front of him with no real sense of direction, “So you can just get going now. Go on Avery.”

“No,” she shook her head at him, “I’m not going to let you just sit there and destroy yourself. You need to stop acting like a child and…”

“A child,” he let out an ironic laugh, “that seems to be the controversial topic of the week doesn’t it?”

“Grady please,” Avery begged of him, “You and I both know full well that I can’t pull you up off of the floor.”

“I’d like to see you try,” Grady leaned back further bringing his arms out back behind him. He reclined a bit watching her eyes burn with fury. He wiggled his brow at her, “Come on Avery give me your best shot.”

“Grady get up,” she frowned down at him, “Don’t be ridiculous.”

“Ridiculous,” he laughed wildly as if she’d said the funniest thing he’d ever heard, “Gee, have you been talking to Kyle much lately?”

“Grady please get up,” Avery insisted further hating to see him in such a state of turmoil.

“No, I don’t want to,” he protested much to her dismay, “however if you want to join me, please feel free to do so.”

Before she could say another word she felt a sharp tug on her leg. He pulled again causing her to stumble forward right onto the center of his lap. The bottle she’d been holding in an attempt to keep it away from him went flying across the room. It came down to the ground with a loud crashing sound.

“See,” Grady smiled at her awkwardly, “isn’t this so much better?”

“No, it isn’t,” Avery argued with him already finding she’d had more than enough of his drunken display. “Get up right now. You get up this instant or else I’ll…”

“You’ll what?” he wiggled his brow at her, “What could you possibly do to me Avery that already hasn’t been done?”

“Grady you need to stop this. You need to…” Avery began with a groan trying to get up off of his lap.

“Avery, you just need to learn to shut up for a while,” he mouthed reaching out to touch her cheek. He urged her eyes back to him before he offered up a small, drunken grin. Before she could say another word, his mouth moved in over hers in a sloppy kiss ready to do what was necessary to keep her words from biting back at the ache in his throbbing temple.


“Just wait out here Kellen,” Kipp smiled, motioning Kellen to wait in front of the ice-cream shop, “I will be right back.”

“You probably don’t remember what I like,” Kellen stated, going to follow Kipp as Kipp shook his head, “You sure you don’t need me to go in there with you?”

“I’m sure I could handle it,” Kipp assured him with a small laugh, “I just want to see if I can get this right.”

“Um, okay,” Kellen nodded, watching as Kipp walked into the building before him. He sighed, taking a seat on one of the benches in front of the shop. He heard the bell of the door again as he turned his head to look back at Kipp bringing out two ice-cream cones.

“So tell me,” Kipp smiled, sitting down on the bench to hand Kellen an ice-cream cone, “Is that the right kind? A strawberry and vanilla blend?”

“Yeah, how did you remember that?” Kellen wondered, grabbing the ice-cream cone with a small smile.

“I guess I was listening, I always cared what you liked Kellen,” Kipp insisted with a small smile, nudging Kellen in the shoulder lightly before smiling, “We’re together now--I have to remember that kind of stuff.”

“I see,” Kellen shook his head slowly, no one ever cared what he liked. Nor did they ever act like they cared. “So, what were we talking about?”

“Well, I was thinking,” Kipp began, taking a bite of his ice-cream, “I was hoping that we could get closer. I want to know every little thing about you Kellen Meloni.”

“What do you not know about me?” Kellen questioned with a small laugh. “I mean, I talk all the time, you should already know my life story.”

“Not necessarily,” Kipp shook his head slowly, thinking for a moment, “Tell me about high school.”

“High school?” Kellen repeated, almost choking on his ice-cream as he saw Kipp nod slowly. “Well, it really wasn’t very memorable to me.”

“Why is that?” Kipp wondered, seeing the expression that spread over Kellen’s face. “Don’t worry you can trust me.”

“Well, I guess I was a really good student. I got good grades,” Kellen began to explain before shrugging his shoulders, “I was on the football team as you knew and I was on the wrestling team, but I got kicked off of that one. Everyone kind of treated me like I was a freak there, I only had a couple friends. My best friend was a girl and she was the only person who was truly nice to me. You know, when people find out you are different than what they consider normal, they treat you different.”

“I don’t think you are different Kellen,” Kipp insisted with a small smile as he looked towards Kellen, “I think you are absolutely perfect and if people don’t see that they must be blind.”

“I’m glad you see it that way,” Kellen smirked, leaning back into the bench. “I would be scared if you didn’t like me.”

“Kellen,” someone called out Kellen’s name as he looked around the street. He finally noticed who was coming up to him and he began to panic. It was Drew Boi, the person that Kipp saw kissing him the other day.

“Drew,” Kellen hesitated with a small frown, watching as Drew approached him, “What are you doing here?”

“I was just out for a walk,” Drew replied with a small laugh as Kellen felt himself become tense around Drew with Kipp, “So how are you doing?”

“Not bad,” Kellen replied, looking over at Kipp who was staring at Drew as Drew nodded slowly. “So, what’s up?”

Kellen felt very uncomfortable right now and Kipp didn’t look like he was having the greatest time right now either.


“I hope he is going to be okay,” Heather sighed, becoming more worried by the second about Kyle, “I just hope he could get through this.”

“I’m sure he will be just fine Heather,” Diego decided, tilting his head to the side to see if he could see anything through the window where Kyle and Sarah were. He thought he saw the two hugging, but maybe he wasn’t seeing some things right. The windows were blurry and he really couldn’t see properly. “I’m sure Sarah could help him through this.”

“Maybe,” Heather frowned to herself, Kyle always took things really seriously. He always killed himself over things--she should know that by now. “Well, if Kyle is alright, you should come over here.”

“I’ll see what I can do,” Diego replied, taking in a deep breath, “I’ll probably be coming later alright?”

“Sounds good,” Heather whispered in a gently tone before letting out a deep sigh, “If you see Kyle--tell him that I hope he is doing good. I would tell him myself, but I don’t think I can get there anytime soon.”

“Will do,” Diego stated with a small sigh, opening his car door to step out of the car for a moment, “Listen, I will probably see you later Heather, I have to go.”

“Okay,” Heather nodded, she was being more agreeing than she had been in a while. If Kyle was hurting, she didn’t need to be pushing things. “Bye.”

“Bye,” Diego said his goodbyes and hanging up the phone before putting it back in his pocket. He saw the form of Kyle standing before Sarah as he listened to what she was saying. Kyle wasn’t going to be doing anything good if he didn’t at least listen to Sarah.

He leaned back against his car as he watched the scene before him through the window. The picture was very blurry, but he wanted to make sure Kyle wouldn’t hurt Sarah. In a way, he realized that Susan caused the most damage today to Kyle. The way he was acting, wasn’t Kyle.

A memory came back into his mind with remembering when Maria died and he lost his son. He felt so bad that day, he had thought his whole world was going to end. He felt like nothing else in the world could make him feel better, but he was wrong. Maria would have wanted him to move on. In a way, Diego felt for Kyle--he felt the same way.

“What Kyle must be feeling is horrible,” Diego declared with a small sigh to himself, “I should know.”


“I can’t tell you that I don’t feel anything Don,” Shannon finally answered after a few moments after he let her out of his embrace, “I do feel something--I know I do.”

“Is it love?” Don questioned, seeing her shrug her shoulders. “I need to know Shannon. I can’t just have you feel for me, but I don’t know if that is the feeling of you feeling bad for me.”

“I don’t know if it’s love Don,” Shannon tried to explain the best she could, “All I can tell you, is that it is really is something. I don’t know what really to say.”

“Just think Shannon, that’s all I want you to do,” Don stated with a small frown, “I just wish I could have a straight answer for once. That’s all I want.”

“I think I need more time,” Shannon bit down on her lip, looking up to see the distraught look on Don’s face, “I’m sorry, I just need to know what to do Don. I need to make sure that I am ready to move on.”

“Shannon how much time do you need?” Don questioned with a small frown, “I don’t have all the time in the world for you to make up your mind you know.”

“I know that,” Shannon shrugged her shoulders before thinking for a moment, “I think I have a feeling Don, just give me a little more time.”

“Fine, but I will only do it because I love you,” Don stated with a small shake of his head, “You better think it over soon because time is running out Shannon. You may have all the time in the world, but I am not going to wait forever Shannon.”

“I understand that,” she nodded slowly, seeing Don look towards the door behind her, “I hope you know that I really do care.”

“I know you care,” Don declared, giving his attention back to her, “It’s just that I think you have to realize that if you don’t make up your mind, you are going to lose what you have. And you know, they say that you never truly realize what you had until it’s finally gone. And I could be gone soon Shannon and that’ll be the end of it because I am tired of being hurt.”

“I don’t want to hurt you Don,” Shannon tried to explain as he held his hands up in the air to cut her off.

“I know you don’t want to hurt me, but if you want to avoid hurting me,” Don began, taking a step towards her, “Think about us. Think about your decision and come up with an answer for me before it’s too late and I never look back.”

“Okay,” she nodded slowly, feeling him reach out to caress her cheek lightly, “I will.”

“I hope you realize that I truly do love you Shannon,” Don explained, leaning down to kiss her slowly before moving back. He squeezed her hands in his gently before letting them drop down, “just think about it.”

Shannon watched as Don walked towards the door and opened it, giving her one last glance before walking out and shutting the door behind him. Boy, did he really give her something to really think about there.


“So,” Deidra began uneasily, her eyes traveling over Dean, down to the place where she could remember having stabbed him. She thought back to the memory of the pain that had overtaken him--the way he’d tried to explain himself to her, but she’d only thrust the letter opener into him further--intending to do as much damage as possible. Guilt plagued her once again and she forced herself to look away, “how are you feeling?”

“I’d be lying if I said I felt as good as I did when we were up at the cabin together, but I’m better than I was last night,” Dean replied at a half-hearted attempt with humor. He saw that she didn’t bother to look up at him--to smile or react in any other way than to seem nervous. “Look, about what happened…I know it was a mess for us and…”

“I think that kind of speaks for itself doesn’t it,” she replied abrasively tilting her head to the side seeing the warmth behind his dark eyes despite the obvious hurt he’d been in at her hand.

“Yes and no,” he paused fighting to find the right words. Somehow nothing felt like it would ever be enough--nothing seemed appropriate and yet he fought with all he had in him to come up with anything that could make sense of it all.

“What do you mean?” she couldn’t help but ask, her gaze upon his once again. She stepped back further into her jail cell fearing what would happen if they were close enough to touch one another. Heaven knew that she was fighting with everything she had in her not to kiss him and that in itself had her wondering what was wrong with her. She held her hands behind her back as if attempting to keep them from having a mind of their own.

“I mean that I should’ve told you the truth sooner. I wanted to tell you about me--about what I was really doing here in Coral Valley, but I panicked,” he revealed dropping his head in a guilt-ridden gesture, “I knew that this would hurt you…”

“Yet you decided that it was okay for you to keep lying to me and deceiving me right?” she shot back icily unable to contain her hurt. “I mean it was just part of the job, wasn’t it?”

“No,” he shook his head at her, “It wasn’t just part of the job. I mean yes I came to town originally to find out who was behind the murders--to get the man who had torn my world apart, but when I met you--well, it changed all the rules for me.”

“Right,” she folded her arms disbelieving even though her mind flashed with memories of their love making. The intensity of being with him filled her even now. It cut her to the core and made her horribly uneasy. “Like I should ever believe another word you have to say.”

“You don’t have to and quite frankly I wouldn’t blame you if you never trusted me again, but you have to know that you were not part of the job. Falling in love with you wasn’t staged nor was it something I did to get further in my case,” Dean confessed touching one of the metal bars in front of him. “The first time I saw you in the elevators I thought to myself that there was a woman who had something special about her. You had a warmth and a smile that lit up the room. I still remember the first time I was close to you. You were in the elevator talking to one of your patients who was coming up to see another doctor. He’d told you a story that most would’ve ignored, but not you. You listened to him--really truly heard what he had to say and when he left those elevators I had no doubt in my mind that you were the bright spot of his day. In watching that exchange, I just knew then how amazing you were.”

“So you thought you’d lie to me and manipulate me into your bed,” she questioned harshly, “That’s just wonderful. And let me guess if it helped out your case, then even better.”

“No,” he answered firmly, “Deidra, I noticed you long before Bruce entered the picture. When I’d learned about the connection you two had made it had me worried, concerned and even a bit jealous. I mean how crazy is that considering that we hadn’t even spoken to one another before? Here I was thinking about how a man like Bruce could’ve wound up being with the most amazing woman I’d ever encountered.”

“Oh please,” she rolled her eyes at his words, “Like I’m supposed to believe that one.”

“It’s the truth,” he insisted with a pleading expression, “and when Shannon told me about how Dave had asked her to keep an eye on you, well she needed my help. We were making sure that you were safe--that nothing would happen to you…”

“A lot of good it did,” she frowned up at him, “Tell me something. That night in the parking lot when we met, were you really just out there or were you watching me and waiting for Bruce to strike?”

“I wasn’t doing either one of those things,” he confessed with a heavy sigh, “I was setting up some surveillance since we’d gotten word that Mathis might’ve been in the area. At the time you walked out I was in the middle of setting things up. I saw him grab you and I made my move…”

“But when he got away you realized that you had to get in closer right? You had to find a way to get close to the idiot in me and make sure that you could crack your case, right?”

“No Deidra, it wasn’t like that,” he threw his hands up in the air, “I wanted to protect you and keep you safe. I mean sure okay I used the job as an excuse to get close to you, but once you let me in--once I fell in love with you, it wasn’t about the job anymore. It wasn‘t about any of that. It was about you--about us.”

“There is no us Dean. Everything you ever told me was nothing but a fabricated story,” she reminded him feeling a pang in the center of her chest at that realization. “You lied to me.”

“Deidra, I didn’t lie about everything.”

“You’re in the FBI for heaven’s sake. You’re not even a doctor,” she scoffed in response, “and to think I bought into it hook, line and sinker.”

“I went to medical school,” Dean blurted out honestly hoping to find a way to reach her, “I graduated top of my class and I’d planned on becoming a surgeon. I even did quite a few internships and was halfway through my residency when I was approached by a criminalist friend of mine who’d been working with the agency for a while. He talked about the perks and how they needed someone with my qualifications. I decided why not and I gave it a shot. They continued to help me with my medical training along with everything else…”

“Which lead you right onto my doorstep and into my life to fill it with all of your deceptions,” she spat at him, tears burning behind her dark eyes, “They taught you well given that I never saw it coming. I mean okay I’m sure you had me pegged for an idiot after you saw how Bruce deceived me, but…”

“No, I never thought of you that way. I still don’t think of you as anything other than a bright, beautiful and intelligent woman who has so much to offer the world around her,” he began again reaching out to her. She stepped back.

“Somehow I don’t buy that. When I think of all those times when I gave myself to you,” she shuddered at the memory of his betrayal, “when you kept pushing me to just let go of my inhibitions and just be free, that was all a line, wasn’t it? You were just trying to distract me so that I wouldn’t catch on to you and your games, weren’t you?”

“No, that’s not it,” he argued with a heavy groan bringing his fingers up through his dark hair, “Deidra I wanted to tell you about everything when we were at the cabin. I was looking for the right time to…”

“The right time should’ve been when we first met, not now when everything has been shot to hell,” she remarked sourly turning her eyes away from him.

“Deidra, if I could take back the lies--the things I hid from you, I would, but with my job I couldn’t just blow my cover. I’d worked so hard to get to this point and…” he tried to speak up in his own defense once again.

“And you didn’t think that when I found your sister’s necklace that maybe just maybe it was the right time to tell me about her?” she shot back at him tears stinging behind her eyes, “You let me wear it and…”

“And I tried to talk you out of it. I don’t know how it got there. I’d had it away after he killed her, but somehow…” he paused a shiver running over his body, “I almost wonder if he put it there--if he was trying to bait me.”

“Because he knew you were hunting him or because you were the one enjoying the spoils of the woman that got away,” she snapped feeling a bitterness inside of her.

“Deidra, I love you. I really, truly do and I’ve never felt that way before. I tried to get out. I tried to tell them that I couldn’t…”

“Well obviously you didn’t try hard enough,” she sat down on the cot behind her. Her gaze wandered to the floor in an attempt to keep him from seeing her crying. “I guess in a way we’re both getting what we deserve now, aren’t we?”

“No, we aren’t. We both deserve to be happy. We deserve a chance at something special and…” he trailed off wanting to kick himself for how bad this was going, “I’m dropping the charges.”

“What?” she tilted her head up to look at him.

“Look, I know that Shannon was upset last night, but this isn’t what I want for you. When you stabbed me you were well within your rights,” he informed her with a heavy sigh, “I never should’ve turned your life upside-down like I did. Words can’t even begin to explain how sorry I am. If only we’d met under different circumstances then we wouldn’t have to be standing here like this--both wondering what we could’ve done differently. We might be happy together and lost in one another’s arms right now if we could’ve met in another life--at another time.”

“I guess we’ll never know,” she sighed heavily closing her eyes as she could feel his eyes upon her. “For what it’s worth I’m sorry that I stabbed you.”

“I’m sorry that I made you feel you had no other choice. I wish that I could’ve somehow stopped all of this from happening--that I could’ve been honest with you sooner,” he began again hating to leave things so unsettled between them.

“But you didn’t and now we’ll never know what might’ve been,” Deidra finally fixed on him, “Because after all the lies, we both know that there is no future for us.”

“I was hoping that maybe we could give things another try--that…” Dean stammered a bit seeing the pain building behind her tears.

“If you were in my shoes would you give it another chance,” she asked seeing his jaw flex with tension. “Yeah, I didn’t think so.”

“You know, I’m sorry that I upset you Deidra. I’m sorry that I broke your heart, but most of all I’m sorry that I wasn’t able to tell you how important you were in my life at a time when you believed in me. I lost your trust and I know I’ll never get that back. I know now that what we could’ve had together is a thing of the past and I have only myself to blame.”

“That’s right,” she nodded stiffly curling her fingers into balls at her sides in an attempt to keep from sharing what was really going on inside her heart.

“In that case, I won’t bother you any longer. I’ll tell Dave that he can work to get you out of here. I’m not pressing any kind of charges. I promise you that,” he blurted out giving her one last longing look before leaving the holding area finally met with the realization that it was over for them. There would never be any turning back again.


“So what are you going to do,” Hart couldn’t help but ask focusing on his best friend’s dilemma.

“I honestly don’t know,” Brant replied slumping his shoulders, “at this point in time I feel like I’m just beating a dead horse.”

“Well maybe it would help if you and Avery got away for a while. I mean it couldn’t hurt to get her out in a romantic setting--in a place where it’s just the two of you and you can work on trying to communicate with one another,” Hart suggested with an afterthought, “That might be what’s best for you both right now.”

“As much as I’d love to do that, I know she’s not going to abandon Grady. She’s got it in her mind that she needs to be there for him whenever he’s about to take any kind of fall,” Brant paused realizing how cold he sounded, “It’s not that I don’t feel for the guy because in a way I do. He lost his brother and the woman he loved, yet for him to constantly be pulling Avery back in…”

“I don’t know what to tell you,” Hart replied finishing off his drink, “I mean it’s a sticky situation all around.”

“That it is and it’s one that I don’t want to dwell on,” Brant finally decided with a tired smile, “So what about you? What’s been going on with you lately?”

“Oh not much,” Hart shrugged his shoulders, “Just a little bit of the usual.”

“Hart given that you’re no longer single, it’s not any of the usual,” Brant tossed out at him pointedly, “I mean assuming that you and Jenna are still together.”

“Yeah, we are,” Hart couldn’t help but smile.

“I figured considering that you were working so very hard at being the voice of reason tonight. I knew someone had to be dishing it out to you,” Brant teased with a small chuckle.

“Hey now I’m good at giving advice. I mean remember that time when we were in college and you were with that one girl at the sorority house and…”

“Don’t remind me,” Brant groaned inwardly, “You and Don nearly got me busted when you decided it was time to amp up the efforts to reach out to me there. When you two were in those ridiculous costumes…”

“They weren’t ridiculous,” Hart objected with a frown, “We were so able to get into that sorority house with them thinking we were women…”

“Yeah right,” Brant laughed lightly thinking back to wilder times in their lives, “That’s why Don got a major butt kicking and a shaved head once they’d singled him out.”

“Hey, he was the one who wasn’t careful about it,” Hart chuckled at the sight of Don returning to the dorm without any hair on his head once he’d been spotted walking into the shower area by mistake. Okay, so it didn’t sound like it was a mistake and anyone who knew Don Leveski would say that it clearly was intentional, but that was the one time in Don’s life he’d been truly innocent. Hart on the other hand, well he’d been up to no good and wasn’t ashamed to admit it. Of course he’d been issued another kind of punishment with a particular red-head that…

“Hey Hart,” Brant snapped his fingers in front of Hart’s face, “Where’d you go just now?”

“Back to the life I’m glad to have behind me,” Hart admitted surprised at how genuine he was about meaning it. Sure the fast life had been nice, but living with Jenna was a whole hell of a lot better, “I guess you could say I finally did the impossible.”

“Donated your Star Wars memorabilia to a museum?” Brant teased lightly.

“No, I fell in love,” Hart boasted proudly, “with one of the most incredible women in the world. I don’t know why she fell in love with me or how it really happened, but I have to admit I’m glad it did. She’s just amazing.”

“She must be to have you looking like a dopey eyed idiot,” Brant remarked with a small laugh sipping his drink again.

“Hey don’t you even get started on it considering I know how whipped you are where Avery is concerned,” Hart tossed back at him pointedly, “You and I were both the eternal bachelors, yet along the way we really screwed that up.”

“We sure did,” Brant sighed heavily his thoughts returning to his wife and the dreams he’d had for them.

“But on the bright side, this whole being part of a couple isn’t half bad. I mean it’s given me a whole new perspective on things. Even with Beth telling me about Sam, Jenna has been nothing but supportive. She’s encouraged me and now that we’re…”

“You’re what?” Brant looked to his friend again.

“I’m not really supposed to be saying anything just yet, but…” a half smirk spread over Hart’s features, “well, Jenna and I are going to be having a baby together.”

“What?” Brant’s eyes widened in surprise, “Are you serious?”

“Very serious,” Hart nodded proudly, “We weren’t exactly planning on it, but once she told me, well it got me thinking about life and how it means we’re going to both be ending up like Don.”

“You mean a moral, upstanding citizen who is boring when it comes to his sense of adventure,” Brant joked again thinking about their friend’s wild lifestyle.

“Given that he’s married to Shannon, I highly doubt life is ever boring,” Hart added with a shudder, “What he sees in her, I’ll never know.”

“Oh I know what it is plenty and trust me you’re lucky that you didn’t have to experience that one,” Brant wrinkled his nose at the memory of the last encounter he’d had with Shannon before she married Don. “Sure, she’s hot, but she’s a viper when it gets down to it.”

“Which is all the more puzzling how she ended up with Don,” Hart shrugged his shoulders, “but I guess that’s their thing to work out.”

“I wish them a lot of luck,” Brant decided looking around the restaurant again.

“Yeah me too, but hey if they can make it, it’s just positive proof that we call can too,” Hart spoke up encouragingly. “I mean with you and Avery about to have a child and Jenna and I with Sam and the baby on the way, I think we’ll have to change the bachelor’s club to the father’s support group.”

“God that makes us sound old--really old,” Brant wrinkled his nose again.

“And boring as hell,” Hart raised his glass in agreement, “So we’ll have to think up something cooler for what we are now, but you get the point.”

“Unfortunately I do man. Times are changing, but at least we can change with them and come out on top of it,” Brant acknowledged before offering a toast, “To fatherhood and the great many perks that come along with it.”

“To creative ways to get out of doing the whole diaper changing thing,” Hart teased clinking his glass to Brant’s again before taking a drink.

“Diaper changing,” a voice rose up from behind the table. “Now that’s the last thing I ever thought I’d hear come out of your mouth son. Care to share what prompted this discussion?”

“Walt,” Brant’s eyes widened as he saw Hart’s father standing behind them looking ready to join in on their conversation. Brant focused on Hart and in that moment he saw his best friend cringe--the smile fading from Hart’s face as Brant realized that something big was about to happen--something that was probably going to get pretty ugly.


“See now,” Grady tore his lips away from Avery’s finding her speechless after his out of the blue kiss. His fingers teased over her dark hair, tucking a small strand behind her ear and away from her eyes. “Isn’t that much better than your constant nagging? It beats yelling by a long shot, don’t you think?”

“Not even close,” Avery curled her lip in a scowl, pushing her hand into the center of Grady’s chest and sending him back onto the floor with a thud. Once he’d been laid out flat beneath her she pulled herself to her feet again unable to believe what drinking turned him into. Shaking her head at him, she felt her face burning with frustration and agitation, “In fact I think you need to stop acting like an ass and realize that you’re a grown up Grady. This isn’t solving anything!”

“And neither is bitching about it. I‘ve found it‘s just easier to deal with it my own way,” he finally sighed reaching out to brace his weight against the cabinet beside him. He was half way up before he toppled down to the ground again feeling his balance off.

“Oh you look like you’re dealing with it oh so well,” she rolled her eyes at him knowing that while he was hurting, this was the last thing he should be doing. She walked in towards him tapping her nails on the countertop impatiently until he finally stood up on his staggering feet. “So remind me again, how has drinking helped you?”

“Avery, I don’t need the lecture,” Grady stumbled past her walking out into the living room. He moved over towards the couch dropping down onto it with a groan. “If you really want to make yourself useful, can you bring me a washrag from the kitchen? My head is killing me.”

“That won’t be the only thing in a few minutes,” she mouthed opening up the refrigerator door. She scanned the contents before looking to the freezer. Opening it up, she could hear Grady still moaning and groaning at her from the other room.

“This should do the trick,” she decided unsnapping the automatic ice maker’s bucket and carrying it with her into the living room. She saw him stretched out over the couch, clearly lost in his drunken haze. This would most certainly give him a reality check whether he liked it or not she decided stopping right in front of him.

“Did you bring that washrag with you,” he questioned in a lazy slur.

“I brought something better,” she assured him turning the bucket upside down to watch all the ice inside scatter over his abdomen and his chest in a quick rush of chill.

“What the hell…” Grady’s eyes snapped open as he practically leapt off of the couch in astonishment. He began to tear at his shirt flopping ice around the room in the movement. His green eyes burned angrily over at Avery, “What do you think you’re doing?”

“Snapping you out of your stupidity,” she answered flatly still holding the now empty bucket under her arm, “We’re going to sober you up and then you and I are going to have a talk.”

“I don’t want to talk,” he snatched the ice bucket away from her, “I don’t want to think and I most certainly don’t want to deal with you or any of your lectures that I know you’ve been keeping for a rainy day in my particular case. I’m done with all of that Avery.”

“Done with it or not, I know you can’t keep drinking it all away. It won’t make your problems disappear and if you think about it, it’s not going to help anything. It won’t bring Jade back and…” she continued desperate to reach out to him. He stopped moving as his eyes returned to hers once again.

“Don’t you think I know that?” he snapped back at her, dropping the ice bucket at his feet, “Don’t you think I realize that I’m never going to be reunited with the woman I love? That I’m never going to have another chance to tell her that I love her or how much I need her? Or how sorry I am that I disappointed her? Avery, I know more than anything that this isn’t going to bring her back, but you know what I don’t care. It helps me kill the pain and that’s all I want to do right now.”

“I can understand that Grady, but this isn’t the answer,” her voice softened as she saw his pain fill over his face. She took a step towards him, her heart sinking at the way his eyes seemed so lost, drowning in his own misery, “Please don’t do this.”

“Avery, it’s a little too late to start making requests of me,” he sighed turning away from her, “and besides begging was never your strong suite.”

“Grady I’m not doing this for me. I’m doing this for you,” she began uneasily, “I’m worried about you and after last night with Kyle…”

“To hell with Kyle. He made his choice last night Avery and I think it’s self explanatory. He chose to believe Susan over me and look what happened. She won. She finally got everything that she ever wanted out of destroying me. I mean sure she might be dead, but this isn’t ever going to go away. It’s not going to bring Jade back or Russ and…”

“I know that,” Avery interrupted with a heavy sigh, “but Grady we can’t let that be the end for us. We can’t just stop pushing on.”

“Pushing on for what Avery?” Grady challenged with a huff, “For another heartbreak? For something else to steal our lives away from us?”

“Grady, I know this hurts, but…” she stepped in towards him attempting to reach out to him.

“No, you have no idea how much this hurts Avery. You don’t know what it is that I’m going through. I mean yeah we both lost Russ, but you still have your daughter. You have a whole new life with Brant and…” Grady argued with her.

“Do you think that I don’t still miss what I should’ve had with Russ? That I don’t spend most of my days remembering what is was I had with him? What I should’ve been able to share with him?” she shook her head at him, “Grady, it haunts me each and every day.”

“But you can at least know that he was aware that you were still in love with him. He knew that he had your heart and…”

“Jade knew that too,” she interrupted him hating to see him beating himself up over everything, “She knew how much she meant to you. She loved you with her whole heart and…”

“And it wound up costing her everything. She lost her life--our child’s life because of Susan--because of a woman I brought into all of our lives,” Grady shook his head thinking about how much his past had effected his future, “Here Jade was pregnant and ready to share the greatest miracle of our lives with me, yet I was too busy thinking about what came next--about revenge…”

“Grady, this wasn’t your fault. None of it was,” Avery’s tone softened further, “You were put in a horrible situation and…”

“And what? Kyle thinks I’m wrong for feeling something about the bitch that killed Jade. That somehow I should forgive Susan and should’ve tried to keep her alive after all she’s done,” he groaned inwardly, “There wasn’t a snowballs chance in hell that I was going to let that happen. She deserved what she got last night--if not worse.”

“I know and I’m not going to argue that, but if you think about you and Kyle. You’re both hurting right now and…” Avery tried once more to reach out to him.

“He made his choice the moment he attacked me. He knew full well what he was doing and there’s no turning back,” Grady maintained his voice unwavering as there was a distance building behind his eye, “They all made their choice.”

“Grady, please don’t shut the world out. Don’t just walk away from everyone that cares about you…” she moved forward, her fingers tapering off over his shoulder, “Don’t shut down like you’re doing.”

“Avery, get out of here,” he closed his eyes tightly, his voice barely a whisper, “Just go.”

“No, I’m not leaving you like this. I can’t leave you alone when…” she offered gently, her fingers sliding over his arm in a slow, massaging movement.

“I said go,” he growled back at her reopening his eyes. His gaze traveled to where her fingers lay on his arm doing their best to try to soothe his pain. His hand captured her wrist before pulling her hand away from him. “I don’t want you here.”

“Whether you do or not is irrelevant. I know I need to be…” she argued knowing full well that the last thing Grady needed was to be alone with the bottle right about now.

“I don’t need you or want you around Avery,” Grady’s voice changed, his words striking her with a newfound coldness, “The truth to the matter is that every time I look at you all I see is another wasted opportunity with Jade. If I hadn’t spent my life hating you like I have, then I could’ve been able to share that time with her--to be with her loving her. I never would’ve taken Cameron’s case and I sure as hell wouldn’t be standing here now with you instead of Jade.”

“What?” her face twisted with confusion.

“I’m telling you that I don’t want you here,” his words grew more passionate, his voice cracking with each syllable that passed from his lips, “Avery, just looking at you makes me think of how Jade couldn’t tell me about our baby because I was too worried about your being with Brant. Every time I’m with you, I think about my brother who died after he married you--of the years he suffered because you’d lied to him. As far as I’m concerned, I’d be much better off without you here.”

“You don’t mean that. You don’t mean any of that. You’re drunk and…” Avery blinked back trying not to let the sting of his words get to her.

“I hate you Avery!” Grady snapped back at her, “I’ve always hated you and even now that I’m at my wit’s end that’s not going to change. You’re the last person in the world that I want to share my grief with, so why don’t you just go home to your rich husband and find your own little glittering generalities on how you’d like to spin this situation into an after school special? Why don’t you take your false concerns and your Pollyanna attitude elsewhere because it’s not needed here?”

“Grady I…” Avery’s jaw dropped feeling as if he’d struck her down to the core with his words.

“I mean it,” Grady added stiffly, clenching his fists at his sides, “Go now!”

“But…” Avery started to protest wishing like hell he didn’t mean what he was saying, yet there was a look behind his eyes. There was something there that…

“Let me show you to the door,” Grady reached for her arm nudging her through his living room to the front door. He opened it with a quick tug before giving her one last small push out onto the porch. “Good-bye Avery.”

Grady quickly closed the door thinking about the expression on her face when he’d shut her out. He closed his eyes knowing full well that this was the last thing she’d expected--the last thing she’d planned on, yet it was the only thing he could do in a moment like this. Okay so maybe he hadn’t been honest with her. He hadn’t been true to what was really going on, but at the same time he was doing what was right. If he even thought about opening himself up to her, he knew full well where that would lead him--where it would take them and right now he’d be damned if he’d go down that road. Shutting her out was much better than showing her just what the truth was.

“It’s better this way,” Grady tried to assure himself as he couldn’t help but reflect on the way her wounded expression cut him to the core. Even now the problem wasn’t that he didn’t care, but rather that he cared too damn much. Given his track record with those he cared about and loved, he knew full well that the safest thing to do was to make sure that Avery never had the opportunity to get close to him. It was the right thing to do especially now after he’d fallen to madness. With that thought in mind he returned to his kitchen ready to find another bottle to drown his misery in.


“Tell me what you were thinking,” Sarah pushed him to go on as he nodded slowly, “What were you thinking about with your parents Kyle?”

“Well,” Kyle fought for words as he shrugged his shoulders, “I was thinking about when I went back home and saw the blood. When I went to the hospital and…”

“Hey, look at me Kyle,” Sarah whispered, touching the side of his face lightly as his eyes met hers, “You shouldn’t be thinking about that. You need to think about the good things with your mom and dad.”

“I’d like to think I could do that Sarah, but the ones that hurt you are the ones that stick out the most in your memory,” Kyle explained, remembering the sight of his home once his parents were murdered. “What has happened just makes me think about it more Sarah. Sometimes I wish that I could go back in time--you know?”

“I understand,” she nodded with a deep sigh, seeing the way he just seemed to be dazing off, “I just think you need to be feeling better about things, not worse.”

“I’m trying, but all I keep remembering is when they died,” he began with a frown, “I made a vow to myself that I would be just like my parents. I promised myself that I was going to have a child and I was going to give my child the same kind of life they gave me. I wanted to be a father more than anything and that was taken away from me Sarah. My promise was broken, my child died--my child, died. And, I can’t bring my son or daughter back.”

“Well, they do say everything happens for a reason,” Sarah pointed out with a small sigh, trying to explain in some way. That was probably the worst explanation, but it was worth a try.

“Yeah, I think this did happen for a reason,” Kyle decided with a small frown, “It was to show me that you can’t trust anyone. It was to prove to me, that no matter how much you love someone--it’s never enough. I think it was to show me that there are only a slim amount of good people in this world and large amount of people who just don’t care.”

“What am I categorized as?” Sarah wondered with a small sigh, feeling Kyle pull her closer to his chest. “The slim amount or the large amount?”

“I think that was the stupidest question I have ever heard,” Kyle pointed out with a small laugh, shaking his head slowly. “No, that was a really stupid question, but I have heard some dumber ones in the past. I think you already know that answer.”

“I should?” Sarah questioned with a small smile, trying to get his mind off this whole thing the best way possible with whatever she could do. “Why don’t you show me what group I am under?”

“How do you suppose I do that?” he questioned with a small smirk, feeling her pull him down into a kiss. He massaged his lips against hers before tearing his lips away from her. “I think I get the point.”

“What’s the point?” Sarah questioned, not really knowing what the point was herself before feeling him pick her up in his arms. She let out a small gasp as he set her down on the couch and got above her. “That point, I got you.”

“This point,” Kyle smirked leaning forward to kiss her as he felt her fingers pulling his tucked shirt out of his pants before running her fingertips underneath his shirt to feel the firm muscle underneath her touch.

“What are you doing?” Sarah questioned feeling Kyle tear his lips away from hers before putting his knees on each side of her hips.

“Not going far,” he smirked, pulling his shirt over his head before throwing it to the ground. He caught a glimpse of someone outside before feeling her lean up to press a kiss over his broad chest. “Wait, stop for a second.”

“What’s wrong?” Sarah questioned, noticing how he got up quickly to go look out the other window. “What is it?”

“You brought Diego here?” Kyle wondered, feeling himself become angered. He clenched his fists at his sides before he shook his head slowly. “I can’t believe you did that.”

“I did what?” Sarah wondered, standing up and walking over to touch his shoulder lightly as he pulled away from her. “Kyle?”

“You brought that idiot over here to see me right?” Kyle questioned with a small frown, shaking his head slowly. “You just lied to me Sarah, you just bullshitted me. You brought that psychiatrist here just in case like last time huh? What did you think I was going to do? Commit suicide?”

“No, that’s not it at all,” Sarah tried to explain, watching as Kyle’s jaw tensed angrily, “Kyle, just let me explain.”

“Get out,” Kyle yelled, pointing towards the door as she made no movement. “Sarah, get out.”

“Kyle please, just let me explain,” Sarah begged, noticing how his hands were clenched tightly and the blood from his wounds was dripping down his fingers. “Your cuts, they are bleeding again.”

“Don’t act like you care,” Kyle snapped, tensing his eyebrows, “Again, someone uses my emotions against me. You’re just like Grady. You brought someone here just like last time. Is Diego going to come in here and tell me what’s wrong with me Sarah?”

“Diego just drove me here Kyle,” Sarah explained seeing him nod slowly. “That’s all.”

“And that’s why he is still here?” Kyle wondered, hearing her stay silent as he nodded slowly. “Leave and leave now.”

“Kyle…” she whispered his name as he walked towards the door and opened it, “Kyle…please.”

“Please, get out of the house Sarah,” Kyle held back his anger as she walked towards him, “I trusted you Sarah, but you did the same thing everyone has been doing to me. Just, just go. Maybe go to Grady because he might want to hear it more than I do.”

“Kyle, please,” Sarah begged before watching him, shake his head slowly.

“I don’t care Sarah,” Kyle yelled, pointing towards the outside, “Leave and leave now.”

“Okay,” she frowned, feeling the tears building up behind her eyes as Kyle held the door tightly as she walked outside.

Before she could even say anything else, he slammed the door behind him. He took one last look out the window before shaking his head slowly. His attention went to a picture that was on the table before him.

“Figures,” he scowled, picking up the picture of Russ, Avery, Grady and himself. He looked at the picture before throwing it his hardest at the wall in front of him as the frame shattered. “It’s never, ever going to happen again.”


...to be continued...