I cant believe that this happened, Angela threw her hands
in the air looking at the back tire of her Jeep. While she and Nick were well
on their way to the castle to talk plans for the future, the last thing shed
anticipated was winding up in such a tentative state with her car stuck in
the thick mud. She frowned, a scowl touching over her lips as she looked to
her fiancé. What now?
Well as much as Id like to say that well be able to fix this one, we may need a little help, Nick sighed rolling up his sleeves a bit further as the sun beat down overhead. This one doesnt look like its going to give.
I cant believe that everything was fine until she stopped herself hearing the sounds of thunder overhead. She looked up to the dark sky, a groan spilling over her lips as the first hints of rain started above them. What else could go wrong?
Dont ask, Nick pleaded with her feeling the winds pick up around them. Why dont you just go call Martha on the cell phone and tell her where were at? Ill give this tire another try and hopefully it will be accommodating for me.
Nick I she sighed throwing her hands up in the air, It never fails does it?
Hey, its going to be okay, Nick promised her. I have the number to the castle in the glove compartment. Well just call him as well and tell him whats going on with us. Itll work itself out.
You keep saying that, but I am starting to wonder if someones not out to get us here, she mumbled to herself as Nick refocused on the tire before him.
Ugh, Nick groaned reaching out for the tire as he noticed something silvery in it. He touched the tip realizing that it was some kind of spike or something. So not only were they stuck in a trench, but the tire was also flat. Wonderful. Maybe she was right. Maybe this is some kind of omen.
Nick, you arent going to believe this, Angela began walking out around to the back of the Jeep only to see him fall flat on his bottom upon hearing her voice. Oh my
Nick looked up at her sheepishly holding some kind of something sparkling in his hand. He offered it up to her as she carefully sidestepped the mud that he was covered in.
It looks like this was the start of the problem, Nick admitted with a heavy sigh, We have a flat.
I can see that, she noted the object in his hand, and it gets better. The phone isnt working. It says were out of the service area.
Youre kidding, right? he attempted to pull himself up off of the ground before falling back on his butt again.
I wish I were, she frowned reaching out to assist him. He shook his head refusing her offer as he staggered to his feet again.
See I have it, Nick tried to assure her feeling himself on shaking ground once again. Maybe you should step back a bit. Its slippery over here.
I can see that, she couldnt help but laugh watching the way his hands and pretty much all else was covered in a thick, goopy mud.
Why dont you wait in the jeep, he suggested trying to wipe some of the mud off of his clothing. It only managed to make more of a mess.
Id really rather watch you, she fought to suppress a laugh.
You think this is funny, he questioned tilting his head to look at her.
Just a little bit, she pinched her fingers together before her laugh grew outrageously loud, I mean this is just icing on the cake the wedding cake I suppose. Here we are planning for our wedding and just about anything and everything we can think of goes wrong.
Thunder roared again overhead.
See what I mean, she threw her hands up in the air, Its like were stuck in some kind of joke here that nature is playing on us.
Well its not really all that funny, Nick stepped forward his foot getting stuck in a pool of mud. Wonderful
What? she looked down to see him knee deep in goop. Oh my
Yeah he searched their surroundings struggling to get his leg out. With another firm tug he was able to free himself from the mud, but not without losing his shoe. The sounds of the storm seemed to intensify with that movement. Well at least were safe where we are
No sooner were the words said when lightening flashed through the sky. Nick looked up before motioning to Angela.
Get back in the car. Ill be in there shortly. he suggested holding his hands out to the rain in the hopes of getting it to help wash him off.
I dont mind a little bit of rain, she announced taking a step towards him. Its not a big deal.
It is when it sounds like that, Nick noted the thunder once again.
Im willing to brave it if you are, she reached out to him, Besides I dont mind getting a little bit dirty every now and then especially now that our plans are kind of shot for the day
Im sorry about that, Nick frowned hating to think that his surprise was ruined. I mean here I know what we talked about and
And youre right. We can work on it later, but for now, she extended her arms out to draw him into an embrace, its the thought that counts.
Even so I was thinking about something a bit more romantic than this, he replied leaning in to steal a kiss from her lips when the sounds of thunder crackled again, However, I think its probably a good time for us to get inside.
Maybe youre right, Angela finally nodded in agreement wondering how things could go from perfect to completely chaotic. Maybe the phone will start working in a few minutes.
Heres hoping, Nick shrugged his shoulders, but hey look on the bright side I have some things in the cooler for us to enjoy while were waiting for the storm to pass. Maybe well find the phone will start working again too
Heres hoping, Angela sighed hearing more rumbling sounds from above. Maybe fate was trying to tell them something, but from what she was seeing so far she wasnt liking it. Refusing to believe that this could be a bad sign, she ignored what her gut instincts were telling her and she kept moving forward to the jeep hoping that the sun would come back soon and clear up the miserable storm that was starting to form around them.
I wish that wed been able to share this with your grandfather,
Michelle curled her lip in a pout, Its too bad that we couldnt
Well have plenty of time to share our wonderful news with him, Ken promised leaning in to kiss her lightly.
I know, but after the way that your brother took the news about your wanting to marry me, well I have to wonder if the rest of your family will be the same way, she continued shifting on her feet uneasily, I mean Id hate to think that they dont approve of us and
Michelle, let me just get this out in the open right now. I dont really care what my family thinks. Sure, they are my family, but thats something that I couldnt choose. They are what they are and if they arent happy for us, then to hell with them, Ken explained matter of fact, I mean its not like they ever really understood me or what Ive been going through. Brant has always been hoping to find a way to keep me down. Hes always got to be the show off. Hes got to be the one who is married first--the one who has all the limelight on him. Hes just jealous that you and I have found happiness. Hes afraid its going to take away from his thunder, but in all honesty I dont care how he feels about it. Were getting married and there isnt a damn thing that he can do to stop it from happening.
I realize that, but she dropped her eyes before finally nodding, Youre right. Youre absolutely right. Your familys approval isnt everything.
No, its pretty much nothing, Ken curled his finger underneath her chin urging her to meet his eyes again, The way I see it if you and I are happy together, then thats what matters. Besides when you meet Blake youll find that you like her. Shes not like Brant. Shes actually a wonderful human being who isnt controlled by her jealousy.
She sounds incredible, Michelle offered a small smile, but hey since were not going to worry about your family right now, how about we talk about the wedding? Maybe work out a few details?
Have anything in mind, Ken couldnt help but ask.
Maybe just a few things, she replied with a small smile, Like maybe our putting together the ceremony and the honeymoon
That sounds like a fun plan indeed, Ken paused contemplating the way that Brant had reacted to his news, Although I do have one request for when we do this.
Whats that? she asked lightly.
We dont bother to include my family in any of this. I dont want them to spoil our big day for us. In fact, what do you say we just do this our way? We can take the jet out to anywhere youd like and we can get married as soon as youre ready, Ken finally decided ready to take destiny into his own hands.
Are you serious? Michelles eyes widened in surprise, You mean youd go anywhere for this?
Of course I would, he nodded, Just give me a little time and anything you want--anywhere you want to be, just name it and its yours.
Well in that case, I think its about time I run a few ideas by you, Michelles eyes lit up with eagerness knowing full well that the world could be hers soon enough. Yes, things were turning out better than anticipated it would seem.
Taking in a long, slow breath Avery finally reached for her bedroom door
ready to do what was necessary to make things right with Brant. She eased
the door open only to discover him shuffling through the closet before her.
She walked into the room further, her eyes dropping to the bed where an oversized
suitcase lay in the center of the bed.
Brant, what are you doing? she couldnt help but ask, her fears getting the best of her.
Im leaving, Brant explained walking out of the closet with a few of his things on his arm.
Leaving, she repeated with wide eyes, what? Why?
Avery, I dont have time to explain, but I have to go away for a while, Brant dropped his clothes into the suitcase before making another run to the closet.
Make time to explain, Avery snapped back at him following him over to the walk in closet, Where do you think youre going?
Avery, Im sorry I have to do this, but theres something I need to do--something that cant wait, Brant explained not bothering to look back at her. He searched through his closet seeking out a few more things to take with him.
You cant just go, Avery insisted making a bold step towards him, I know youre upset with me, but
This isnt about us. Its about Ken, Brant informed her stopping what he was doing to turn around and face her, I cant just sit idle and do nothing when hes about to make the worst mistake of his life. I need to take some kind of action Avery.
I understand that Brant, but where are you going? What do you think youre doing? she couldnt help but ask her worries mounting by the second. Were you planning on saying something to me about your leaving?
Eventually, he shrugged his shoulders, but right now I need to focus on what I have to do.
Brant, I know you want to help Ken, but please let me help you. At least talk to me about whats going on instead of being all secretive like this, she urged reaching out to touch his arm as he shuffled through the closet once again. Brant please dont shut me out.
Thats funny to hear you say that considering that youve been shutting me out for months now, Brant replied tightly, his pained expression cutting her straight to the core as his dark eyes fell upon her. Considering how close we once were, Im finding it harder to believe that we once shared a connection
How can you say that? she blinked back at him clearly confused, Only a few hours ago we were making love and yet you stand there saying that you dont feel connected to me
Physically yeah, theres a connection, but when I look into your eyes I see that youre not with me--that youre nowhere near the place where Im at, he sighed heavily, his emotions getting the best of him, Yeah, you might be my wife, but even now your heart has never left that place where it was at when you were with Russ. Youve never let go of the past you two shared and because of that we have no future Avery.
What in the world are you doing? Diego questioned, breathless
as he pulled away from the kiss that Heather had given him moments ago. Why
did you do something like that Heather? Dont you have a clue about what
you are doing?
Doing what Diego? Heather questioned with a small smirk, reaching up to outline her lips slowly after kissing him. You and I both know that you wanted that just as much as I did. You enjoyed it, I could tell.
As much as you want to believe that is the truth Heather, I didnt want that at all, Diego informed her with a small frown, folding his arms in front of his broad chest as he thought, In fact, I havent in a long time.
Thats bull Diego, you and I both know that, Heather rolled her eyes as Diego shook his head slowly, I know you want me Diego. Dont try to say you dont.
I dont want you at all Heather and I know I can say it, Diego insisted, shaking his head slowly, I cant do it Heather. I cant do this again.
Do this again? Heather questioned, seeing him nod slowly. What do you mean by that exactly?
What I mean by that is, he thought for words to explain before finally letting his feelings pour out of his heart, I cant allow you back in my life again.
Of course you can, she chuckled a moment before shrugging her shoulders, You always do Diego. You cant stay away from me. Its something that you just cant do.
And thats my real true problem, he replied with a small frown, shaking his head slowly, I cant keep letting you back in my life only for you to break my heart time and time again. I couldnt handle that Heather. It would be too hard on me.
Who said I would break your heart Diego? Heather questioned, slightly agitated with his answer. I know you want me, you cant avoid it Diego.
I can avoid what my heart tells me to, Diego stated with a small sigh, My heart doesnt want to be broken again. I wont let it happen Heather. Im sorry.
No youre not because I know everything you just said isnt true, Heather pointed out as he looked her over slowly, You know you want to be with me Diego. I can see through you clearly.
You know, I cant believe you at all Heather because you have proved me wrong, Diego frowned, shaking his head slowly, How could you just bring me out here when your sister is inside hurting? Kyle just broke her heart and still--you are here trying to hook up with me. I thought you would be thinking a little bit more about your sister and not yourself.
I do care about Sarah, I just dont want what happened to her to happen to me, Heather tried to explain, watching him roll his eyes, Its sad what happened.
This is ever sadder, the thing that you are trying to pull, Diego declared, giving her one last look before turning on his heels and beginning to walk away from her.
Diego, wait, Heather called out to him before watching him give her one last glance. He shook his head one last time before walking away and leaving her alone to think about everything. Thats it.
With him saying what he just did proved to her even more that he wanted her. With all the talking her just did, made her more determined than ever to find a way to win him back and she was going to get him back.
What is this all about? Ben questioned, looking between Diane
and JT. What is he talking about Diane? Why are we here to talk about
I dont know, Diane lied, shrugging her shoulders as she looked over at Ben, I have no idea what this is all about. I thought you were the one that sent me this.
You seriously need to stop lying to him Diane, JT declared, taking a step up towards Diane, I cant believe you lie to him just like that. You should seriously be more caring about the person you love. You dont lie to someone you love.
Hey, dont you ever come close to her again, Ben stepped forward, pushing JT away from Diane after he had gotten up in Dianes face. You stay away from her, I dont know what your problem is here, but we are leaving.
I dont think you should be doing that just yet, JT stated with a small shrug of his shoulders as he watched Ben stare at him with amazement, You might want to know a little something before you leave.
Oh really? Ben scowled, taking a step forward towards JT, What might that be?
Well, I dont think its really my right to tell you, JT declared with a small frown, looking behind Ben and towards Diane, You might want to ask her about this one.
Ben, Diane frowned as Ben cut her off, motioning her to be quiet as he raised his hands in the air.
No, she isnt going to say anything you prick, Ben hissed, shaking his head slowly, I dont know what kind of sick prank you are trying to pull with Diane, but Im not going to let it last any longer. We are going to leave.
Well, there is something sick about this situation we are in right at this moment, JT shrugged, letting out a small smirk as Ben turned back around to face him. All JT needed was a little more time to let this whole thing out. It was just a matter of time before everything took its place. Its just not me. Its the fact of how long Diane has been lying to you and hiding from me.
She wouldnt lie to me, she loves me, Ben declared, shaking his head slowly, Youre lying to me.
Really? JT questioned, biting on his bottom lip before nodding slowly. I can see why you wouldnt believe me. Well, if not me--why dont you ask her?
Diane has absolutely nothing to hide from me you jerk, Ben stated, looking back at Diane with a small frown. Whats going on Diane? Do you know this guy?
I, Diane was about to say something before JT blurted out what she was afraid he was going to.
Oh, she knows me very well, JT answered for her before she could say another word, Its kind of a long history if I do say so myself. Its kind of sad in a way.
Oh really? Ben questioned with a scowl seeing him nod slowly. Why dont you just tell me why that is.
Well, okay since you insisted and she isnt telling you anything, JT began, shaking his head slowly before shrugging, I slept with Diane.
What? Ben questioned, looking back at Diane before looking towards JT. Thats not true.
Oh wait one second, its a whole lot better, JT smirked, placing his finger in front of his mouth, And that baby she is carrying--its mine, not yours.
Diane stood there watching the scene that was going on before her. She wanted this to end as soon as possible, but she knew it wasnt going to. Ben wouldnt believe him, would he? He heart beat faster as she watched Ben turn to face her. What was he going to say to what he just heard?
Kyle opened the door to the bar in Coral Valley he had stopped at after seeing
his parents. He hadnt drank in a long time after he saw what had happened
to Grady, but he was in too much pain. He couldnt stand it anymore,
it was just too much for him.
Kyle stepped into the smoke filled bar, coughing as soon as the smoke reached him. He shook it off before taking a step forward to look through the area before him. He took a seat at one of the stools in front of he bar before shaking his head slowly. He never imagined himself in one of these places after seeing what happened to Grady, but he didnt care about Grady right now.
What can I get you son? the bartender came up to Kyle, placing his hands on the bar.
I dont know, Kyle shrugged his shoulders, letting out a small sigh, Just get me a beer or something.
Okay, the bartender nodded slowly before going to the back to grab his drink for him. He came back and set the drink before Kyle. Something bothering you kid?
Yeah, Kyle chuckled, reaching his hand out to wrap it around the neck of the beer bottle tightly before taking a sip, You could say that.
Want to talk about it? the man before Kyle questioned, running his hand through his white hair. I am pretty good with advice lately, especially today.
I dont know if you could fix this one, Kyle chuckled, shaking his head slowly, My best friend just turned his back on me and thats pretty much it. He let me down, I trusted him, but that obviously didnt matter.
You know, Ive already had something like this one with the guy that went into the bathroom a second ago, the bartender explained, shaking his head slowly as he thought something over for a moment, He said something about his friend turning on him for the girl that killed his girlfriend or something like that.
No kidding? Kyle questioned with a small laugh, taking another sip from his drink before shaking his head slowly. That sounds like something my best friend would have said. Well, the person that would have been my best friend.
Maybe you two could get along with each other and share stories, the man suggested, pointing towards the bathroom, Thats him right there.
You have to be kidding me, Kyle chuckled, shaking his head slowly as he saw who was before him. Thats Grady.
What in the world are you doing here? Grady scowled, taking a seat next to Kyle where he was originally seated. Figures you would come here to try and talk to me like a stalker.
Excuse me? Kyle questioned with a frown looking over towards Grady. What did you just say.
I take it you two know each other, the bartender pointed out seeing Grady nod.
This was the asshole I was telling you about, Grady replied, pointing towards Kyle as Kyle stood up from where he was seated on the stool, Can you get another one for me buddy?
Sure thing, the bartender nodded, walking away from the scene as Grady looked up at Kyle.
Oh wait, were you offended being called an asshole? Grady questioned with a small laugh. Oh, Im sorry.
I cant believe you, Kyle frowned as Grady got his drink and took a drink of it, I cant believe this.
Nick lay in the back of Angelas jeep with her in his arms. The storm
was still raging outside of the jeep, yet it did nothing to take away from
the feel of the moment they were sharing with one another. After theyd
retreated to the jeep discussing how bummed out Angela was about the detour,
theyd decided to play a provocative round of truth or dare which was
what wound up bringing them to the backseat in such a tentative position.
It didnt take long for the both of them to wind up wrapped up under
a small blanket on the fold down seat making love to one another. Now as Angela
lay against him clearly at ease, Nick closed his eyes just taking in the sounds
of the storm and the warmth of her that touched him in a great many ways.
Making love with her had been a pleasant change of plans from their attempts to make it to the castle, but he was still bound and determined to find a way to give her what she was hoping for. Hed tried the cell phone earlier, but the signal was still out. Of course once they were able to make some calls, he vowed to smooth things over with the man at the castle so that Angela could have her dream wedding. He vowed he wouldnt give her anything less. Listening to the sounds of the storm overhead Nick felt his body give way to exhaustion. He kept his eyes closed hearing the distant thunder intermesh with the rains outside the jeep before he too gave way to his own tiredness.
Shifting with Angela in his arms, he felt a vision overtake him. He was in another place--a house it would seem and she was beside him on the sofa. He could faintly hear what was going on even though he was watching it as if he was there taking it in first hand. He strained to hear what was going on, but it seemed that something was happening. Finally he heard the first sounds of their conversation. She spoke up first.
Hmm, well I think youre just going to have to tell the hottie du jour that youre otherwise engaged tonight, she teased back poking him in the ribs playfully as she leaned in closer to him.
Is that so, he returned the gesture tickling her lightly as a laugh spilled over her lips.
Thats right, she nodded eagerly tickling his sides as laughter swept over the both of them as she slid her fingers in beneath his sweater grazing her nails against his rib cage as his laugh deepened.
Oh no you didnt, he wrapped his arms around her pinning her beneath him as he toppled forward on the sofa over her stopping her tickle assault on him, ha, looks like you lost again.
I never lose at anything I set out to win, she answered simply a smile pressing over her features as her dark eyes fell upon his.
And what is it youre out to win tonight, he questioned lowering his voice as he inched in towards her remembering the times theyd shared with one another in the past. It had always felt like a lifetime ago, but now as he held her in his arms it was all coming back to him in vivid color.
What was the game we were playing, she asked lazily as her eyes dropped down to his lips thinking about how long it had been since theyd been this close to one another.
I think its called fire, he answered feeling her breath strike against his mouth as he slid one of his arms out from beneath her gliding it over the side of her body as the warmth of her filled his palm. God, she felt so good, he reasoned throwing caution to the wind as her arm slinked around his body holding him against her.
Remember, its only fun as long as you dont get burned, she spoke in a low, throaty whisper closing her eyes as he leaned forward his mouth hovering over hers as a sexy smile touched over his lips.
I happen to like getting burned, he confessed in a faint murmur as he bridged the distance between them capturing her full, luscious lips in a slow, savory kiss as all the old feelings hed had for her came rushing forward once again.
Feeling her wrap her arms around him, he continued to kiss her thinking of all the places hed longed to pick up at with her once shed walked out of his life and now as he held her, she felt so warm, so inviting and so very good beneath him. Her fingers threaded through his hair gently pulling as his lips tapered off over the curve of her neck remembering all the places that excited her over the years. Her hands had already robbed him of all logic as he began to shrug out of his sweater, allowing her to take him anywhere she wanted to go as the ghosts of the past began to breathe life again before him. He pulled back momentarily to look down at her seeing the smile that captured his heart so long ago as he leaned forward once again capturing her mouth again with hungry urgency.
Ive missed you so much, he confessed his kisses tapering off over her collar bone as her nails scratched over his flesh gently, drawing out his hidden ache for her with each passing moment as he began to pull open her blouse wanting nothing more than to lose himself in the magic of the woman hed once loved. Just holding her again, being with her--knowing that fate had offered them a second chance again was all the encouragement he needed to finally allow his barriers to break away as he tasted her sweet skin. Her fingers threaded through his hair again as she curled her leg around him holding him against her with desire raging over her body.
I want you, she breathed in a low, throaty tone as their mouths met in another hungry union.
Oh yes, he murmured against her lips wanting nothing more than to bury himself in the magic of the woman hed once given his heart to, but almost as soon as the promise and anticipation had become too much to bear, the moment came to a screeching halt as she breathed the words he never dreamed of hearing.
Oh Brant, spilled from her lips as he stopped dead in his tracks unable to believe what hed heard.
What did you just say? he questioned pulling away from her as he looked down at her unable to believe what hed just heard.
Nothing, she shook her head, her face a flushed color as it dawned in on her what shed done, Look I
I dont believe this, he tore himself away from her, getting up off of the sofa as though hed been scalded by her touch. Silently cursing himself, he looked around his living room seeking out his sweater that shed discarded in their moment of insanity.
I didnt mean to say Its just that . she watched him seeing the pain behind his movement as she sat up from where hed left her on the sofa.
Just dont, he raised his hand in the air to stop her as he turned around to look at her unable to believe what hed almost done as he looked down at her seeing her half dressed on his sofa.
Nicks eyes snapped open and he let out a gasp. He felt Angela move in his arms and suddenly her dark eyes were fixed upon his. He realized that his breathing had grown heavier--that his heart was racing in his chest and now there was something happening--something he couldnt quite explain.
Nick, what is it? Angela questioned worry evident in her tone. What happened?
I had a dream a thought and he felt her move again and he sat upright trying to get the image out of his head, Its hard to explain.
Tell me about it, she pleaded with him, reaching out to touch his knee gently, What did you see?
We were together we were in some place, he brought his hand up through his dark hair, We were together doing pretty much what we were doing in here earlier
And that got you this worked up? she questioned with a sideways glance, Somehow I didnt think that our making love was something to get you all hot and bothered--at least not in that way.
It wasnt the fact that we were about to make love, he revealed his green eyes upon her, It was that you called me by another mans name.
What? she replied uneasily seeing how upset he was at the dream, Nick, it was just a dream.
I know that, but there was just something about it--something so real, he paused tilting his eyes up towards her once again, We were about to make love and you called me Brant.
What, her eyes widened in horror, tension immediately springing out over her body, What did you say?
Brant, he repeated again, You called me by the name Brant and I was upset. I walked away from you and...
He paused seeing the shock that registered over her beautiful face. Does that mean something to you Angela? Do you know someone named Brant?
Nick, I I um she stammered uneasily feeling as if the past was coming back to haunt her in a horrible way. Apprehensively she pulled away from him sliding beside him on the seat. She hugged the blanket to her body before dropping her eyes to the floor of the jeep. I dont know why you would dream about that name
Because you dont know anyone by that name or because you do, he couldnt help but ask. Reaching out to touch her knee gently, he spoke up again in a small whisper, Angela talk to me.
Nick, I dont know how you knew, but she bit on her lower lip nervously before meeting his concerned gaze again, Brant is the man I had a fling with not so long ago--he was the man that fathered the babies
You mean hes Nicks jaw practically dropped at the realization.
I didnt think that I told you his name because I havent told anyone his name. Not that there was much to tell, she ran her fingers through her dark hair uneasily, as if trying to comprehend how it was possible for Nick to dream about her calling out to her ex-lover. Shed been so careful to keep that part of her fling to herself--she hadnt even mentioned his name to Kevin, yet now that Nick was having a nightmare about her choosing Brant over him. It made her very uncomfortable especially considering the dreams shed been having about Brant lately. She looked to Nick again, I didnt know his last name and I figured it would be better if no one else knew anything about him.
Then how did I know? he asked finding himself baffled by his minds wanderings.
I mustve slipped somehow when I was asleep. Maybe I called out to him in my dreams, she felt her face grow hot with embarrassment, but Nick that wasnt my trying to tell you something. Im not trying to push you away and I know that Im never going to see him again. Hes not a problem for us. Hes
The past I know, he reached out to touch her face gently, I know that hes the father of your children and
And hes a married man, Angela insisted thinking to the painful discover shed made when shed seen the very hazy news reel about Brant and the dark haired woman hed married. At first shed thought that shed been imagining it, but the brunette woman at his side that shied into his arms had a similar build--similar coloring and it didnt take Angela long to get worked up over it. She hadnt seen the womans face or heard anything beyond the news that Brant was a married man.
You said that before, Nick reminded her feeling a breath escape his lips, but if theres a possibility that hes still out there--that you two could cross paths again
Its never going to happen, Angela vowed her heart pounding furiously in her chest. She looked to Nick seeing the worry behind his eyes. Reaching for his hand she squeezed it gently before bringing it to her lips. Im never going to see him again.
But if theres a chance he started uneasily.
Nick, theres no chance, she tried to assure him before drawing in a long, slow breath, You are the only man I want to share my life with--my childrens lives with. Only you
I want to share my life with you too. I want that more than anything, Nick replied pulling her into an embrace, I know that today didnt go exactly like wed planned for it to go, but I promise you that this will work for us.
I know it will. Everythings going to be perfect for us Nick--absolutely perfect, she promised him holding him tighter as she hoped and prayed that she could find a way to put Brant behind her forever. Shed thought shed been so careful about her thoughts--about her fantasies about Brant, but now that Nick had picked up on it somehow, she knew that she had to put that part of her life behind her forever. Brant was the past--the past that was something that would never enter her life again and Nick was the future. Nick was the man she was going to marry--the one who loved her with all of his heart and she loved him too. Now wasnt about looking into the past, but rather moving towards the future with someone who loved her like she needed to be loved. Brant could never give her that. He wouldnt want to give her that and deep down she knew shed never see him again. He wasnt even an option for the future. The book was closed on that part of her life and Angela intended to keep it that way.
Michelle sat in her hotel suite planning for the week ahead of her in between
the night she had planned with Ken. Hed had to run to his office to
take care of a few things and now Michelle wanted to take care of a few things
herself. Reaching for the phone she dialed a familiar number before laying
back on the bed.
Hey you, Michelle spoke into the phone curling her finger around the phone cord as she looked to the ceiling. What took so long for you to answer?
I was trying to get in a manicure since you gave me that bonus, Candice explained less than thrilled as it seemed she was in the middle of something.
Yeah, well it can wait. This cant, Michelle beamed stretching out even more over the bed, Youre never going to believe this, but Im getting married.
Youre what? Candice questioned with clear cut astonishment, No way!
Yes way, Michelle squealed into the phone. She rolled over onto her stomach, and Kens told me to pick where I want to be married because hes going to give me the wedding of my dreams. This is really happening.
Damn girl you have all the luck. How did that happen? I mean sure I knew he was kind of a sucker, but marriage? Wow thats something, Candice replied her voice full of awe and a little bit of jealousy.
Well, what can I say, Michelle dropped back onto her pillows, When youre good, youre good and Im beyond being that damn good. As I see it, all I need is to get into his life as his wife and then itll take me one step closer to what I need.
Even so with someone that rich they always have prenuptial agreements there, Candice warned her wearily, Lets face it Michelle, you might be in, but you may not get your hands on that cold, hard cash.
Believe me that hasnt even factored into Kens mind. He doesnt want a prenuptial agreement because hes absolutely smitten with me. By the time he realizes the score itll be too late. Ill have more than half his fortune and Ill start my life my way, Michelle explained matter of fact, If Ive learned nothing else over the years, its that I will get what I deserve.
Thats what you said about Kevin too, but look how that turned out, Candice pointed out with a frown, That was a scenario where you thought you had it all figured out.
That was before I realized what I truly wanted out of life. Kevin was hot enough, but he didnt have what I needed. Ken has all the money in the world and while hes a complete bore, I can afford to indulge in anything Ive ever desired by being an Ashford. Im in and this is the real deal, Michelle boasted proudly, Its too perfect.
Nothing is too perfect, Candice warned her once more, There could be a snag in this plan if youre not careful.
Trust me. Even his pathetic little family cant stop this. Were going to be married and when the big day comes I expect you to be a bridesmaid. Who knows you might even learn a thing or two from the master. This time, well this time its going to all fall into place and when it does, I can promise you that Ill be living the life I was meant to, Michelle held her fingers up in the air imagining what it would be like to have a thick, oversized diamond on her finger. Happily ever after here I come because once I get my hands on Kens massive bank account there wont be any stopping me any longer!
No future, Avery repeated feeling Brants words sink in.
It felt as if someone had knocked the wind right out of her with that comment.
Unable to keep from being upset by his statement she took a step forward,
Brant, how can you say that?
Think about what weve been going through lately, he pointed out with a long sigh, Avery we havent had a moment of peace and every time I think were getting closer to one another, we only end up miles apart. Even now Im sure youre thinking about Grady and whatever issue he has going on with him.
Gradys my friend Brant, she began again feeling tears threatening.
And Im your husband, he reminded her bluntly, his own frustrations mounting, That should count for something.
It does. It really, truly does, Avery reached out to him feeling him stiffen beneath her touch, Brant I love you.
But not like you loved Russ, he shook his head. Closing his eyes he thought to the fights theyd been having--to the increasing number of arguments between them, Avery can you honestly tell me if Russ was still alive that youd be putting him in second place to whatever drama Grady is going through?
Brant, thats not what Im doing. I know it might feel that way, but its not. Gradys been my friend my whole life and there are things she stopped herself realizing how stupid she was sounding, Brant I love you. When I married you I did it because it was what I wanted
More like what you needed, he finally reopened his eyes to look at her, Avery we both know this was a marriage of convenience for us
It doesnt matter how it started, she replied tearfully reaching out to hold him, Brant I love you. I know that weve had tension between us, but youre honestly the only man I want to share my life with--to share my daughters life with
That is until Grady pops in or Russ reenters your mind, he sighed heavily feeling tension creeping in over his neck and shoulders.
Brant, I know that I cant take back the past or say the right things right now, but I do love you. I meant what I said when I told you that I wanted this--that I wanted for us to be together she took in a slow breath, and Im sorry if I made you feel like you were second place in my life.
Lets face it thats all Ill ever end up being and at one point in time I really thought Id be okay with that, but Im not Avery. Im no where near being okay with being someone you run to when all the other options have run out, he explained his jaw flexed with emotion as he stepped back, Besides right now I dont have time to think about us. I have to try to save Ken from making a mistake.
Avery felt him slipping away from her. He walked over to bed in a stoic fashion, his mind clearly set on packing his bags. She raised her hand to her face wiping at her tears. Watching him, she felt her heart sink. Here they were on the verge of some kind of reunion, yet hed taken Gradys calling earlier as a sign that they were falling apart all over again.
Brant please dont shut me out, she begged of him, her words coming out in tiny sobs, I know that Ive been a horrible wife, but Ill change. Ill find a way to make this up to you.
Avery you shouldnt have to, he turned to look back at her finding himself hurting by the expression on her face. Unable to stay away from her, he spun around reaching out to her, You shouldnt feel that you have to change whats in your heart for me. You shouldnt have to be something youre not.
What I want to be is your wife, she replied choking on her tears. His thumb brushed over her damp cheeks in a soft, sweeping movement before he leaned forward, inching in closer to her. Their lips met in a soft, tender sweep before he pulled away from the kiss.
Im sorry, Brant mouthed resting his forehead in against hers.
Please dont leave me, Avery sniffled her damp lashes striking her face. She felt his arms around her now trembling body as her heart sank, please dont walk away from us--not now.
Avery, I just need some time, he sighed heavily feeling an ache in his chest, I need to figure things out with Ken and
Dont use your brother as an excuse to close the door on us, she tipped her head upward wishing like hell that there was something she could do or say to change the way he felt.
Im not closing the door, he spoke up in a tiny whisper feeling his own hands trembling as his fingers pressed in over her cheek. He urged her to meet his concerned gaze before his lips swept over hers once again, I just think its best if we take a time out.
For how long? she questioned uneasily, What does that mean Brant? Are you saying you want a divorce? That you want me to move out?
No, he shook his head adamantly, Thats not what Im saying at all. Its coming out wrong, but when it gets down to it, what I need what I want
Then why are you leaving, Avery asked with a sniffle, Why were you planning on going away like this?
Because I cant let my brother destroy himself. I cant watch him make mistake after mistake. As long as hes out there doing this, then hes destined to a life of misery, Brant explained hugging her closer to him, Hes got one last chance at happiness--at love in his life and if I dont make a move towards helping him
I want to help you help him, Avery insisted urgently, Take me with you. We can help him together.
Avery, we both know if we go together on this, well be too busy trying to figure out whats going on between us. Youll be miserable because youll be worried about Grady and Brant started with a heavy sigh.
Forget about Grady. If this means were going to lose each other, then Im willing to do whatever it takes to help you. Brant, I dont want us to fall to pieces, she explained desperately, I dont want to lose you.
I dont want to lose you either, he confessed dragging his thumb over her bottom lip gingerly, but right now I need to do this for Ken. I need to save him from making another mistake.
I want to help, Avery whispered leaning in against his chest, I want to do what you need me to do.
I need you to stay here, he squeezed her in his arms, I need you to keep an eye on things while Im gone. Make sure that Ken doesnt get into too much trouble. Ill call Hart and tell him whats going on. He can help you keep an eye on things
Brant are you sure, she questioned uneasily still not liking the idea of him leaving without her.
Yeah, I also called security and theyll be on high alert while Im going. You just be careful, his fingers tapered off into her hair, and when I return, well talk about things. Well take the time to work this out between us.
And well also make time for that honeymoon you were asking me about earlier, she assured him with a small squeeze, I just dont want you leaving thinking the worst of me.
I dont think the worst of you, he confessed teasing his lips over hers once again, I just think that you need time like I do to get your priorities in order. Weve been under so much stress lately that I think its really weighing down upon us. We need to find a way to work through that and maybe a little time apart will do us good.
Maybe, she finally conceded still hating the idea of him leaving without her.
Hey pretty girl, he wiped at her tears again urging her to meet his dark, concerned eyes, I will be back and when I return we will fix this.
I know, she nodded uneasily wondering if their problems were only beginning for them. She bit down on her lower lip nervously hating the way that she felt right now at the thought of him leaving. I love you.
I love you too Avery, he whispered kissing her temple lightly, Now I have to pack.
Let me help you, she pleaded knowing that this was the last thing shed wanted to do, yet she knew not to argue with him. She tried to keep herself together as she feared this was the beginning of the end for them.
I can really do it on my own, Brant mouthed taking a step back. Im almost done anyways.
Thats okay. I can still help, Avery suggested once again watching him reach out to zip up the bag.
Like I said Im pretty much finished in here, he finished with the suitcase closing it up before pulling it off of the bed, The driver is waiting outside for me. I have a flight to catch.
So this is it? she questioned biting back on her tears.
For now, he replied taking a small step towards her. He opened his mouth to speak before closing it again.
Well, I guess I should say good luck and be safe, she blurted out fighting to stay strong.
I will and you do the same alright, he replied immediately wishing like hell that he could just let go of what he was holding back on and take her with him. God knows he wanted to be with her--wanted to have her beside him, yet he knew that that would take away from the focus he needed. He moved in closer to her hating to leave under these conditions. I wont be too long.
Okay, she nodded dropping her head as he walked past her. He was almost out of the bedroom door when she spun around to call out to him again. Brant.
Yes? he questioned turning around to face her once again.
Good luck, she replied racing over to him and throwing her arms around his shoulders. She kissed him with everything she had in her, her fingers sliding through his hair, her lips absorbing the sweetness of his mouth. Their tongues met in a heated tangle, their mouths conveying all the things to one another that they hadnt been able to say moments earlier. It was as if there was an unspoken understanding between them. Things felt right again. They felt like they were back on track until he finally broke away from their kiss.
Good-bye Avery, he spoke up in a breathless whisper turning down the hallway to leave.
She stepped out into the hall watching him walk down the stairs. She found herself wishing like hell that he wouldnt go--that he wouldnt leave her behind, but when he exited down the foyer, she felt her heart sink. Looking around the bedroom Avery thought of all the memories theyd shared with one another--all of the good times that they shared and in that moment she felt the walls closing in around her. Moving over to the bed, Avery sank down upon the blankets unable to refrain from hiding the tears that came pouring out of her. Reaching for a pillow she hugged it tightly, keeping her eyes closed as she prayed that this wasnt the beginning of the end of her future with Brant. Shed already lost so many people--to lose him would be the end of her indeed.
Well this is just lovely, Grady grumbled underneath his breath
working to finish off his drink. His eyes shifted to Kyle and he could see
the clear cut hatred burning behind his friends eyes. Have a problem?
Yeah you, Kyle marched forward, his jaw flexed with rage.
Get over it, Grady motioned to the bartender to get him another drink, I was here first so find yourself another place to hold your pity party over the woman who ruined my life.
You ruined your life the day you chose to stop being a human being with compassion, Kyle sneered at him, clenching his fists at his sides tightly.
Compassion, Grady replied with a small grumble gritting his teeth together, not on your life. That woman didnt deserve any of that from me.
But I did, Kyle shook his head at him, That was my baby you let die that night.
Kyle, trust me. I did you a favor, the bartender returned to hand Grady his glass as he finished his words. Reaching for the mug Grady lifted it to his lips taking the first long sip. He paused before spotting Kyle out of the corner of his eye in the mirror on the wall, You wouldnt have wanted to be tied to Susan for the rest of your life. It really wasnt that big of a loss.
You son of a bitch! Kyle sneered unable to hold back any longer. He pulled Grady off of the barstool knocking it down in the process. He reached for Grady again, but Grady shoved him away.
Back off Kyle because this time you dont have the opportunity to sucker punch me, Grady warned slamming his glass down on the bar top. It shattered upon impact.
Oh I wasnt planning on sucker punching you Denton. I was planning on kicking your ass, Kyle promised lunging forward at Grady.
Grady ducked again, but not before he slammed Kyle face first onto the bar top over the broken glass. Kyle winced before pulling himself up to reveal the blood on his face. He spun around hitting Grady right square into the jaw sending him flying backwards into the wall.
Youre going to pay for that one Houston, Grady slurred from where he sat on the floor near where hed fallen.
Not nearly as much as youre going to pay for your betrayal Denton, Kyle promised marching forward ready to let loose on Grady full attack.
In a matter of moments the two men were throwing one another around the bar pounding on one another like they wouldnt stop. Kyle tossed Grady into the pinball machine before slamming his head on the glass top again and again. Grady jabbed Kyle in the ribs sending him flying back into the jukebox with a lightening quick movement. It didnt take long for anyone to realize this fight had escalated to all out war between them and nothing short of one of them dying or the police that had been called would stop it!
I dont know what he is talking about Ben, I really have no idea
what he is saying Diane tried to state as Ben looked back at her with
worry in his eyes, I..
Diane, is this really true? Is what he is saying true? Ben questioned worriedly shaking his head slowly. Please tell me that he is just lying.
Ben, Diane frowned, trying to lie to him, but she just couldnt. Tears began to spill from her eyes as she looked at Ben, I slept with JT, but that was when we werent together. Its entirely possible that you are the father, not JT.
I cant believe this is happening to me, Ben felt his own tears building up behind his eyes, I cant believe you didnt tell me about this Diane.
Ben you have to listen to me, she begged, watching him let out a small frown as a tear slid down his cheek, Please, just listen to what I have to say.
I cant believe you did this to me Diane, Ben declared, giving her one last look before running out the door to leave her with JT. He just couldnt stand there any longer.
Whoa, I dont this he took that confession too well, JT smirked, watching as Diane spun around to face him. She took a few steps toward him before raising her hands up in the air as he let out another laugh, I think you should have told him sooner. It may have turned out a little bit better than this. No, I know it would have. This was really ugly.
I am going to make you pay for doing this to us JT, Diane declared, seeing him let out a small laugh, Im serious. I wont let you get away this.
Youre serious huh? he questioned, seeing her nod slowly. How are you going to do that when the man you love just ran out on you without even caring?
I hate you JT, Diane yelled, running towards the door to try and catch up to Ben. She had to find him. To really tell him what happened between her and JT.
Well this ended up going perfectly, JT smirked to himself, sliding his hands in his pockets, This was the best thing to do. You couldnt just keep on lying to that poor guy. He deserved so much more than that.
Diego let out a deep sigh after closing the front door to his house. He leaned
against his door thinking about what had happened earlier. He couldn't believe
that Heather tried to pull something like that. She really didnt know
what she was doing lately.
Diego? Cori questioned, coming out of the kitchen with a drink in her hand. I was wondering when you were going to be coming home.
Well, Im home, he replied, letting out a small frown before taking a step towards her, So, how has your day been?
Horrible actually, Cori replied, shaking her head slowly, I
just got back from my brothers house and he is such an idiot.
Really? Diego questioned, seeing her nod slowly. Why dont you tell me about it?
His mind left the conversation as he let Cori talk. He thought back to what had happened between him and Heather. It was just unbelievable. When she kissed him, he knew he felt something. A big something, but he couldnt admit that to her. He knew that he was stupid enough to take her back into his life if he wasnt careful. Speaking of being careful, he had to end it as soon as possible.
Dont you think? Cori questioned, feeling Diego pull her into his arms. He pressed his lips against hers in a heated way before pulling back. Whoa, that came out of nowhere.
Ive made a decision, Diego declared, wrapping one of his arms around her waist tightly while the other hand pushed a piece of hair from her eyes. He had to get Heather out of his mind and this was the only way. I know that we are only friends
Right, Cori nodded slowly, reaching her hand up to run it through his thick dark hair slowly, What about us being only friends?
Ive decided that its not what I truly want, Diego took in a deep breath before looking down at her with his dark eyes, I want us to be more than that.
Really? she questioned, seeing him nod slowly. She felt him pick her up in his arms before walking towards his bedroom. He kicked the door shut behind him before setting Cori down on the bed slowly.
Really, he nodded, getting on his knees above her before leaning down to press a small kiss upon her neck. He felt her hands run over his back before pulling the shirt over his head. He leaned back allowing her to throw it to the side before he took one look at her.
He leaned forward after seeing the face of Heather before him. He kissed Cori more roughly this time, feeling her fingers running over his belt before unbuckling them.
Hold on a second, Cori smiled, flipping him over onto his back before getting in over his body.
Yeah, Diego nodded, closing his eyes and then opening them up again to see the face of Sarah before him. He reached his hand up to tangle his fingers through her blonde hair. I want to be with you.
The same goes for me, Cori declared as he shook his head, trying to get the two women out of his head.
He had to think about Cori not Heather or Sarah. Sarah could never be his and Heather was the past Cori was his future. As Cori leaned forward to kiss him again, he vowed that he wasnt going to screw up this one. He was going to be with Cori.
Heather shook her head slowly after entering the house. Diego had left and
she couldnt do anything about it. She looked up to see no Sarah and
Kipp before her. She heard someone singing to Charles in his bedroom as she
went back to his room.
Why in the world are you singing a love song to my son? Heather questioned with a small laugh, watching as Kellen set Charles back in his crib slowly. He looked back at Heather, resting his hands on his hips.
I thought it was a song he might want to hear, Kellen frowned, letting out a deep sigh, Kipp and Sarah arent here right now. They are out.
Okay, whats your problem? Heather questioned, seeing Kellen look down towards the ground. I just heard the emphasis on out, so what do those two have on you that is making you mad?
You want to know whats wrong? Kellen questioned with a frown after seeing Heather nod slowly. Okay, I think that your sister is trying to move in on Kipp. It is so obvious, I mean look at her. He is falling for it too. Did you see the way he just ran to her when we got her? Its like she has this charm on him.
Are you insane? Or are you just insane and stupid? Heather questioned with a big laugh, placing her hand over her stomach. Oh my, that is the funniest thing I have heard in a long time.
Its not funny, Kellen scowled, shaking his head slowly, I am really serious. It isnt funny at all.
Wait a second, Heather paused for a moment to think things over before placing the clues together, Oh my god. You two have something going dont you? Thats why the both of you are always together.
Duh, just because you dont think he is sexy, doesnt mean some of us don't, he declared with a small frown letting his hand fall from his waist.
Hey, Heather let out another long laugh before shaking her head
again, You can have him Kellen, but only if you stop giving me crap
about seeing my son.
What? Kellen questioned, looking her over before shaking his head slowly. You know you are a nasty bitch.
And so are you, she pointed out with a small laugh, shaking her head slowly, You know you had me fooled back then. I would have never guessed that you were gay. Bravo.
Funny, Kellen mocked her laugh before shaking his head slowly, Back then I didnt think you would be this mean either. Obviously the both of us read each other wrong.
I dont really think we read each other much, she pointed out seeing him nod slowly, Other then the fact that the both of us needed some money.
Yeah, Id really rather not talk about this, Kellen declared, shaking his head slowly. He didnt want to remember his past, especially not now.
Listen Kellen, she began, folding her arms out in front of her chest, I will let up on Kipp if you promise me that you will let up on me a little bit. Thats all I ask of you.
Id really rather not, Kellen frowned, looking Heather over for a moment before shaking his head slowly.
Alright, if you are nice to me, Heather started, knowing something that he would definitely agree to, Ill be nice to you and let Sarah know that Kipp is so off limits.
Well, okay, Kellen caved in letting out a deep breath, I suppose we could handle things like that.
Cool, its a deal then? Heather wondered, extending her hand out to Kellens before he shook it slowly. Great.
This is illegal I hope you know, Sarah pointed out looking behind
her as she looked for any sign of people. They stopped in front of the door
that used to be Susans apartment.
You were the one that wanted to this, Kipp pointed out, looking back at Sarah with a small glare, I mean we can stop and not try and find anything if you would like.
No, we have to do this for Kyle, we cant let him stay hurting, Sarah declared as she saw Kipp roll his eyes before pulling his toolkit from his pocket.
Then stop complaining, Kipp frowned, taking two tools out and playing with the lock.
Do you have any idea of what you are doing? Sarah questioned, seeing Kipp look back at her with a frown. Dont you have keys or something?
Oh, yeah, Kipp nodded, reaching into his pocket to pull out his keys before finding the right key to unlock the door with. He quickly unlocked it and pulled her forward into the apartment before closing the door behind him. The room was dark around them as he leaned forward. Dont mess anything up. Stay here while I look for the light.
Kipp? Sarah questioned with a frown reaching over to where she knew the light was. She heard a loud thud as she turned the light on quickly. She laughed, noticing he tripped over the coffee table. You told me not to mess anything up.
Okay, enough laughing, Kipp blushed, brushing himself off as he stood up, You look out here for any evidence and I will go look in the back for anything. And be quiet.
Take your own advice, Sarah chuckled, looking around the room as Kipp left her alone. She walked toward the desk in the corner of the room before pulling open a few drawers. She saw a picture of Kyle sitting on the desk as she frowned. This was a picture of him at Grady and Susans wedding. It just proved to her right now that she was more obsessed with Kyle than any of them really thought. What a bitch.
Without even caring where it landed, Sarah threw the picture aside and searched through all the drawers.
Sarah, I think I found something really important here, Kipp yelled out loudly, trying to get her to come quickly, Get in the bathroom right now.
Im coming, Sarah replied, getting up from where she was. Once she gone in the bathroom she saw Kipp holding a few items in his hands proudly. What is that?
The pregnancy test, Kipp answered with a small smile before raising the other hand up, And a bottle of food coloring. You know what this means?
It means she lied to Kyle, Sarah gasped grabbing the two items from his hands, We have to tell Kyle. We have to tell him as soon as possible.
Lets go, Kipp nodded, feeling her hug him real quickly before they walked out into the living room. You dont think we need anything else do you?
No, Sarah heard a rustling at the doorknob before grabbing Kipp quickly. We have to hide.
Where? Kipp questioned quickly after hearing the doorknob begin to turn. He felt Sarah pull him under the tight spot below the desk as he hit his head. Ouch.
Shut up, Sarah frowned, watching Kipp begin to slide out from under the desk. Kipp? What in the world do you thing you are doing?
I have to turn off the light, Kipp declared, feeling her pull him back once more, I have to.
No you dont, Sarah motioned him to wait as they heard the door open. Someone was in the room and if they werent careful, they were going to be caught.
...to be continued...