Episode 265

“I just can’t believe he’s gone,” Angela started wiping at her tears as she looked around her living room after Kevin had brought her back home. She looked around thinking about Nick--about the time they‘d shared together and how all of it had been nothing more than a lie. Even now she couldn‘t help but recall how perfect it had seemed. She‘d wanted to believe in him--wanted to think that they could have something special with one another, yet all this time she‘d only been fooling herself. How could she have been so blind? How could she have been so stupid? Sure all the signs were there, but she was too lost in her own world to even care. Shaking the thought she tried to stay focused on what was in front of her. “I mean one minute we were standing there together ready to start the party--ready to invite our friends into our lives to share our special day with us, and then the next…he’s gone.”

“I know and I’m sorry,” Kevin reached out to her placing his hand on top of her shoulder. He felt her lean into his touch, burying her head in his chest as a series of sobs overtook her. He hugged her closer to him hating that he hadn’t been able to stop her from feeling this pain. If only he hadn’t left… If only… “I should’ve been here. I should’ve stayed and…”

“I just thought that it was all happening for a reason--that he was really someone I could spend the rest of my life with. He seemed so perfect--so wonderful and when he looked at me with those eyes of his, I felt like the only woman in the world--like I was the only thing that mattered in his life…”

“He never deserved you Angie,” Kevin whispered thinking about all the ways in which he’d like to tear the man who hurt Angie apart limb for limb right about now.

“Maybe I was just fooling myself,” she sniffled tilting her head up to see her friend staring down at her, “I mean I knew that there were risks involved in falling in love with a man who had no past. I knew that there was a chance his old life could come back to him…”

“Angie, about that…” Kevin shifted on his feet uneasily not quite sure how he was going to break the news to her about what he’d uncovered in Coral Valley.

“I mean just when I thought I’d finally found my happily ever, poof, it’s gone,” she threw her hands up in the air. She began pacing around her room, thoughts running wild inside of her head, “Here I was painting this picture inside my head of happily ever after with Nick--with my children and him, yet it was never mine in the first place. All those things we shared with one another--all those dreams we’d talked about, they weren’t anything more than an illusion. They weren’t ever meant to be and…”

“Angie, I’m so sorry that I wasn’t here to stop that. I knew something wasn’t right about him and,” Kevin offered up hating to see her hurting. The tears in her eyes and falling from her face were enough to do him in. How could he make things worse by telling her about Russell Denton--the man that Nick really was?

“What’s worse is while he was saying all the right things and making me feel all the right things, it was only because all that love he’d felt--all those things he wanted to share with me weren’t for me at all. He was just confused when his heart was really with his wife even if his head wasn’t there,” she blurted out with a heavy sob turning around to face Kevin, “He was married you know.”

“I know,” Kevin replied somberly seeing the surprise and shock that registered behind her eyes.

“How? I mean was it so obvious that everyone else could see it but me? Were all the signs really that easy to read when I was falling in love with him? Am I just a moron when it comes to being around married men,” she asked tears burning behind her eyes.

“No, it wasn’t obvious,” he replied honestly, “when Nick looked at you, he looked at you like you were the only woman in the world and on some level I believe he thought you were that only woman, but…”

“But what? I mean why couldn’t I just stay uninvolved--why couldn’t I…” she started once more her frustrations mounting, “You could see it. You could sense that something wasn’t quite right--that he was married obviously…”

“I only know that because I only recently discovered that he’s married to a woman in Coral Valley,” Kevin watched her face drain of color as he continued. He hated to be telling her all of this, but he knew that she needed to hear the truth, “When I was there trying to find my cousin the obvious was right in front of my face. Hell his brother was engaged to Jade. He was someone who…”

“I don’t want to hear it,” she threw her hands up in the air refusing to learn of the life that Nick had before her. Now he was back to that and she was left feeling an emptiness overtake her.

“I know that Angie and believe me I don’t want to be the one telling this, but you deserve the truth,” he took a step towards her, “You deserve to know what a son of a bitch he was. He hurt you and I’m not going to let him get away with that. He’s going to pay for what he’s done--for making you cry like this…”

“What’s wrong with me?” she asked biting back on her tears, “I mean honestly Kevin why am I so stupid that I can’t see what’s right in front of me? Why didn’t I just stay away? What did I do to make me such a moron about men? How does this keep happening?”

“Hey, it’s not your fault,” Kevin reached out to her holding her as if he’d never let go. She sobbed into his chest, her tears soaking through his t-shirt as he kissed the top of her head wishing like hell that he could take this pain away from her. As her tears consumed her, Kevin found himself vowing revenge against the man that had torn her world apart. Of course now that Angie had informed Kevin that the man in question was long gone from the island, Kevin vowed to himself that he’d have to make a special trip to Coral Valley to pay him a visit once Angie was back on her feet again.

“After all,” Kevin thought to himself with a smirk, “I know where he lives and by the time I’m finished with him, he’ll wish that he never, ever turned her world upside down like this.”


“Wendy, what are you doing here?” Ken questioned blankly unable to believe what was right before his eyes. He took a step towards his ex-lover, unable to help but react to what he was seeing. Unable to resist he reached out to her checking to see if his mind was playing tricks on him all over again like they had with him after Caitlin was gone.

His mind had taken him into a haze again time and time again and once he’d met Caitlin he’d tried to forget the life he’d had with Wendy--to push aside how much it had hurt him when she left town, but now that she stood before him smiling at him, he couldn’t help but respond to her. She was his first true love--the first woman he ever really, truly found himself lost within and even now he could still remember the love that they’d shared quite clearly. He took another step forward his fingers brushing against her arm gently.

“I thought that you were in Europe--that you’d left because…” Ken stammered a bit, his heart causing his mind to follow the trip down memory lane. Second by second he could feel the life he’d once had with her returning to him. “That you were never coming back…”

“I’m sorry I lied to you Ken,” Wendy began painfully her eyes misting over with tears. “I never should’ve did what I did in walking away like I did…”

“What?” he questioned confused by her words.

“Look, I don’t know what’s going on here, but whoever you are in case you haven’t noticed, Ken and I are about to get married,” Michelle pushed her way through the crowd. She bunched up the fabric on her dress to hold it in her fingers before standing in front of Ken placing a distance between Ken and Wendy, “We have a wedding happening here, so you and your little entourage can just leave now.”

“I don’t think so,” Don stepped forward nodding over at Hart. Together the two men tugged on Michelle’s arms drawing her away from Ken and Wendy far enough to give them room to talk to one another.

“Ken, I wanted to tell you the truth about why I was leaving town, but I thought it was easier with the story I gave you,” Wendy started apologetically her hands trembling as Brant stepped forward to address his brother.

“Wendy didn’t leave town because she wanted to, but because she had to,” Brant explained matter of fact, “She didn’t leave because she didn’t love you Ken. She left because of our father--because of the power that surrounded him…”

“I don’t understand,” Ken’s eyes shifted between his brother and Wendy.

“Ken, he forced me to leave town--he convinced me that if I didn’t walk away that it would destroy you,” Wendy explained apologetically, “I was so afraid and…”

“And what?” Ken stepped in closer to her needing to hear what she had to say, “What were you afraid to tell me?”

“Ken, there are things we need to talk about. Things that I have to say to you…” Wendy explained uneasily, her eyes shifting around the church. She kept her hands at her sides unable to keep from hiding her emotions any longer. “Please…”

“He’s not going anywhere. You’re not talking to him now or anytime soon. We’re about to get married and…” Michelle pouted feeling Don and Hart pull her back ever so slightly. “Let go of me. Ken make them let go of me!”

“Michelle I…” Ken started finding himself at a loss as his gaze swept between Wendy and Michelle. He knew that he’d promised to marry Michelle--that they were seconds from exchanging vows yet, as his eyes returned to Wendy, he knew that he couldn’t afford not to hear her out. She’d been someone he’d pushed out of his mind for so very long, but in being this close to her again--in being near her like this--it almost made it feel like she’d never been gone in the first place.

“Ken are you listening to me?” Michelle hissed back at him, “Ken, you can’t let this bitch ruin everything we’ve worked towards. You’re going to marry me and…”

“I need to talk to her Michelle,” Ken replied apologetically his eyes returning to Wendy, “Let’s talk.”

“Okay,” Wendy smiled at him leading the way out of the church with him nipping at her heels.

“I guess you didn’t have as much of a hold on him as you thought now, did you Michelle?” Don taunted feeling her stomp down on his foot. She did the same to Hart and attempted to push forward, but not before Brant stepped in front of her.

“Oh no. You’re not going anywhere near them right now. This isn’t your time Michelle,” Brant warned her sourly, his dark eyes narrowing down at her, “Come to think of it, I can’t think of a moment when it’ll ever be your time to be a part of the Ashford family, which means the money is so far from being yours it’s not even funny.”

“You won’t get away with this,” Michelle sneered up at him wanting to claw his eyes out. She lunged forward, but Don and Hart pulled her back despite her protests.

“That’s the beauty of it sweetheart,” Brant grinned down at her wickedly, “I already have and the way I see it, I just saved my brother from ruining his life with a gold-digging con artist like you.”

“You should be ashamed of yourself for meddling with his life like this,” she spat out at him still trying to lash out at him.

“Actually, I feel pretty damn good right about now. What about you guys?” Brant questioned smiling at his friends knowing that now that they’d pushed the wheels into motion for Ken, things were about to start looking up at long last.


“Kyle, can you possibly go any faster?” Russell questioned, looking down at his watch as Kyle tapped his hands on the steering wheel. Kyle’s dark eyes looked over at Russell as he let out a small sigh and shrugged his shoulders.

“Let me just fly over all these cars,” Kyle shook his head slowly, looking ahead to see if the traffic was even becoming any better. “I’m trying Russ, I really am. I want to make sure she is okay just as much as you do.”

“I know you do,” Russell sighed, leaning back into the passenger seat as the cars started moving. “At least we are moving now. I’m just worried.”

“I know and you have the right to be,” Kyle frowned, reaching out to turn the radio off as he cleared his throat uneasily. He thought for a moment before deciding to speak up again. “Can I ask you a question Russ?”

“Go ahead,” Russell nodded, watching as Kyle thought for a moment. Kyle didn’t say anything and Russell waited before speaking up again. “What is it man?”

“Where the hell have you been man?” Kyle questioned with a small shake of his head. Kyle glanced over at Russell as he continued to drive. “I mean here we all were in Coral Valley, beating ourselves up while you were dead. So what happened when you were dead? Or alive. Or whatever.”

“It’s kind of a long story,” Russell explained, thinking of a way to somehow explain things to Kyle. “I’d tell you, but right now I just need to find Avery.”

“I told you, I am trying the best I can Russ,” Kyle repeated, keeping his eyes on the road. He shook his head as he thought about the moment when Russell died. When that happened, it wasn’t the best time of his life. “Man, when you died, I blamed myself for it. For a while, I couldn’t stand the fact that I let you go with that girl. I thought it was all my fault that I couldn’t save you or stop you. I wished like hell that I was the one in your spot.”

“Kyle, I’m not dead,” Russell furthered the point as Kyle shook his head slowly. “All you have to think about is the fact that I am home now. That’s all.”

“You don’t get it Russ. You may be home now, but back then you weren‘t,” Kyle began, shaking his head as he tried to think of a way to tell Russell what he meant. There were so many things that Kyle wanted to tell him about, things that happened while he was away. The only problem was, he didn’t know the right way how to explain things to Russell. “Things happened to all of us when you died--or whatever it was that happened to you. Avery fell apart and she did some things.”

“Like what?” Russell questioned, watching a muscle in Kyle’s jaw tense. Russell’s eyebrows tensed as he saw the worried expression behind Kyle’s features. “Kyle, what’s wrong?”

“It’s nothing,” Kyle lied, knowing that he should be telling Russell about Avery marrying Brant, but he couldn’t find it in himself to tell Russell. Russell was worried about Avery right now, he didn’t need the pressure of the news on himself also. “All of us just kind of lost it at points, including Avery.”

“Is she okay?” Russell asked once again as he saw Kyle nod slowly. More worry began to fill him as he thought back to Avery. He needed to know if she was okay. He just needed to see her. “I have this really bad feeling Kyle. It’s just eating me up inside.”

“I know what you mean,” Kyle assured him before looking at his watch to see what time it was. “You know where this place is more than I do. Are we almost there?”

“We’re pretty close,” Russell nodded slowly as he sat up more in the seat. There was a feeling in the pit of his stomach that had his worries to a high point. Something was wrong, but he wasn’t quite sure what it was yet. “We just have to keep moving. We have to get there soon.”


Avery felt a cool breeze pass over her. Her head was aching, her mind reeling with possibilities of what was yet to come when a foul odor overtook her. Her eyes snapped open and she realized that she was still tied down to the bed at the Denton cabin, her arms now going numb from being tied over her head.

“I see you’re awake in time to enjoy the fun we have ahead of us,” Bruce greeted her with an overly cheerful voice. She turned her head in the direction of his voice straining to stay conscious as her arms felt heavy.

“What did you do to me…” Avery slurred trying to shake off the effects of the drug he’d given her.

“I’ve just given you a mild sedative,” he shrugged his shoulders reaching for a chair and sliding it over to the bed, “In a little while you won’t be able to feel a thing. I’m just going to do a simple procedure and…”

“Bruce, you can’t do this,” Avery pleaded with him, an ache swelling up in her head, “I know that you’re upset with me, but…”

“Upset with you,” he reached out to graze his fingers over her forehead gently, “Oh no Avery I’m not upset with you. Far from it. I love you and I want you to feel better. I’m just doing what I can to make that happen so that you and I can be together again. I’m going to help you help yourself and then we’ll be able to live out our happily ever after.”

“No,” she shook her head her eyelids feeling heavy once again, “Bruce, please don’t hurt my baby. Whatever you did…you have to get me to the hospital--to get me out of here so that…”

“I’m afraid I can’t do that,” he placed his index finger over her lips to silence her, “because you see that child of yours simply cannot be. It’s not part of our future Avery. You and I both know that. It doesn’t fit into the plan just like Russell’s other baby didn’t fit into the grand scheme of us. Today it will be like a new beginning for us. You will lose the baby like you did before and…”

“No,” she shouted out her eyes snapping open in a panic, “Please Bruce. Just let me go.”

“I love you far too much for that,” Bruce shook his head at her, “but don’t worry it won’t hurt too much. You’re strong and I know you can do this. I know how good you are Avery. Ridding you of evil won’t be hard.”

“Bruce please. I’m begging you. You can do what you want to me, but please don’t hurt my little girl. Please don’t…” she insisted tears threatening as his hand pressed in over her lips again.

“It’s not a little girl Avery. It’s a little demon that I intend to cut out of you,” he explained with a proud smile, “but don’t worry I’ve done this procedure before. It will be brief and when it’s done, we can be on our way to happily ever after. You’ll have a chance to grow into the woman you always should’ve been--into the beautiful, amazing angel that I knew you were the last time we were in this position. With the end of this pregnancy, your sins will be behind you.”

“No Bruce. My baby isn’t responsible for what I’ve done. If you want to be angry with someone, please be angry with me, but not her. Bruce you need to take me to the hospital,” Avery added urgently tugging at her wrist again as a sharp pain coiled throughout her abdomen. She cried out arching her head back on the bed as pain rocked over her entire body.

“Ah, I see the show is about to begin,” he smiled proudly watching the way she writhed against his restraints. “Trust me Avery. This will be over almost as quick as it began. I’ve given you something that will help guide this process along.”

“Bruce no,” Avery moaned feeling another cramping sensation in her abdomen. She looked over to where Bruce was seated discovering that he’d walked away from the bed.

“I have to go get my tools, but trust me,” he glanced over his shoulder to watch her from the doorway, “It will be one of the most intimate, wonderful experiences of our lives that we’ll share with one another. The excruciating agony and feel of loss will bind us in ways that no one else can ever truly understand…”

“No,” Avery shouted out hearing him walk out of the room. Screaming as loud as she could, she knew she had to fight the effects of the drug. She had to escape. Another wave of nausea settled in over her and she cried out once more. She had to break free if for no other reason than to save her daughter’s life.


“Are you feeling any better?” Ria questioned softly as she reached out to squeeze Trisha’s hand in hers gently. Ria watched Trisha sit straighter in her seat before nodding slowly.

“I feel a little better now that I have you with me,” Trisha answered, letting out a small breath. “Don’t get me wrong, I am still worried as hell right now, but I have to be strong. You are here for me right now and Kevin was. I feel a little bit safer. I’m sorry I called you like that. I must have scared you half to death.”

“Sweetheart,” Ria hushed shaking her head slowly as she spoke. A small frown passed her lips as she thought about what had happened to Trisha. There were many things that Trisha should be feeling right now, but the one thing she shouldn’t be feeling is sorry. “There is no reason for you to say sorry. I’m your big sister Trisha. I think it’s my duty to be here for you when you need me.”

“And that’s why you are the best sister ever,” Trisha replied with a small smile as let out a small sigh. “I don’t know what I would have done if you and Kevin didn’t show up.”

“We came because we love you,” Ria pointed out with a small shrug, reaching out squeeze her sister’s hand once more. “I couldn’t leave you alone like this.”

“I don’t think I will ever feel comfortable being alone again,” Trisha pointed out with a small laugh. She shook her head as she thought about what she said. Coming from a woman in her early twenties, that probably sounded ridiculous. “I probably sound like an idiot.”

“No, you don’t sound anything like that,” Ria hushed, standing up from the couch, “I think you have every right to feel what you are feeling right now. And I want you to know that everything is going to end very soon. They are going to find Bruce and they are going to make everything safer. I promise you that.”

“Are they really going to find them?” Trisha questioned with a small shake of her head. She leaned back into the couch as she looked up at her sister. “I have to wonder if they are. He has gotten away with so much and still--he’s not caught.”

“He can’t keep getting away with everything,” Ria stated with a small shake of her head. Sure, it seemed that Bruce was unstoppable, but his time was coming very soon. “I know they are going to catch him. He’s good, but he isn’t that good.”

“Well, I guess all I can say is I hope that you are right,” Trisha sighed, thinking back to the horrible moment when Bruce fell into her life. “I never want to face that man again. I couldn’t handle that, I wouldn’t…”

“You’re never going to,” Ria cut Trisha off before she could worry herself anymore. “You are going to be fine. I’m here and I promise, no one is going to touch you or even come close to hurting you. Big sister promise.”

“Thanks Ria,” Trisha let out a small laugh as she thought of all the things that Ria had been doing for her lately. “I think I would be ruined if I didn’t have you here.”

“Well, it may suck for you,” Ria began with a playful smile, folding her arms out in front of her chest, “but I am always going to be on your butt about things. If I think you’re doing something wrong, I am going to tell you.”

“Oh, I see how this goes,” Trisha nodded slowly, resting her arm on the edge of the couch, “the big sister can tell you what to do, but I can’t tell you?”

“Exactly,” Ria agreed before letting out a small laugh as Trisha rolled her eyes. “Hey don’t ask me. That’s just the law of life little sister. Anyways, I may sound like a jerk sometimes, but I just want to protect. That’s all.”

“I know, and I appreciate the fact that you do,” Trisha simply shrugged, looking up at Ria who was now standing in front of her. “I would feel kind of bad if you didn’t care.”

“Well, you don’t have to feel bad,” Ria pointed out with a small smile, hearing the ringing of her cell phone letting her know that she has a voicemail. “Because you are stuck with me little one.”

“Oh great,” Trisha laughed, watching as Ria pulled her cell phone out and dialed voicemail. “What is it?”

Ria’s throat grew dry as she heard Kevin’s voice over the phone. He called her earlier to tell her that he was going to the island for the party.

“It’s Kevin,” Ria whispered, closing her cell phone after the end of the message. It sounded like he was in too much of a hurry to even talk to her.


Kevin sighed getting up from Angie’s couch as he heard a knocking at the door. He didn’t know who it could be right now, but if it was one certain person named Nick, he knew how he was going to handle things.

“Yes,” Kevin answered the door as he saw Martha before him with a few bags in her hands. A wide smile appeared over Martha’s features as Kevin motioned her to come in.

“Big guy,” Martha smiled wrapping her arms around Kevin as soon as she got in the house, catching him by surprise. “You’re home now. Where have you been?”

“I just had a few things to take care of,” Kevin informed her, hugging Martha lightly before letting her out of his embrace. He missed home a lot and obviously by the way things were over here, home missed him a lot too.

“We missed you a lot over here,” she pointed out as Kevin reached out to help her with a few bags. She pulled them away as she shook her head slowly. “I think I can handle these by myself. I’m not that old Kev.”

“I was just trying to help,” Kevin pointed out with a small laugh as he followed her into the kitchen where she set the bags down on the table. “What are those?”

“It’s some of the cake from the party,” she informed Kevin with a small sigh as she folded her arms out in front of her chest. “I take it you already know what happened?”

“I know more than I want to,” Kevin admitted, letting a small sigh escape his lips. He shook his head slowly as he thought about the way Angie was crying when he got home. “I swear Martha, if I ever see him again, I am going to make him hurt just as much as he made Angie hurt.”

“Kevin,” Martha frowned, shaking her head slowly as she reached out to squeeze his arm gently. “I know you would do anything for Angela and I think very good of you, but Nick just wasn’t the right guy for her.”

“Which I pointed out time and time again,” Kevin declared with a deep sigh as he threw his hands up in the air. “I told Angie that he was no good. She should…”

“Why did you tell her that he was no good Kevin?” Martha questioned as Kevin frowned and looked away from. “That’s what I thought kiddo.”

“I just don’t get it,” Kevin shrugged his shoulders as he thought about all the losers that had hurt Angie in the past. “How could all those guys treat her like that? She’s a piece gold that someone should love and cherish, but all these guys always treat her like she’s nothing. She deserves way much more than that.”

“I know,” she sighed, watching as Kevin’s worried eyes looked down the hallway. “Speaking of Angela, where is she?”

“She’s in bed right now,” Kevin answered with a small sigh as he shrugged his shoulders. “I don’t know if I should go in there and check on her or give her some time to herself. I’m just worried about her.”

“I’m worried about her too,” Martha agreed before shrugging her shoulders. “These are moments that I really don’t know how to handle. You know Angela, do you think she is going to be okay by herself?”

“She was never okay alone,” Kevin pointed out with a small sigh as he thought about all the years he had spent with Angela. “What she needs is someone who will make her laugh, make her feel better and most of all, someone who is going to listen to her. Someone who is going to try and make everything better.”

“Then I think you just answered your own question kid,” she pointed out seeing Kevin nod slowly. “I should go back and clean some more things up, but I will be back later to check on her.”

“Okay, I’ll see you later then,” Kevin reached out to hug Martha once more, “I’ll go and talk to her.”

“Okay,” Martha squeezed Kevin tighter in her arms as he let out a small laugh, “It’s nice to have you home again Kev.”

“Thanks,” Kevin smiled, watching Martha walk out the front door as he thought about Angie for a moment. He had to make sure she was okay.


“I demand that the two of you let go of me right now,” Michelle snapped as she struggled to get out of Don and Hart’s hold. “You have no right to keep me like this.”

“And you have no right to try and ruin someone’s life,” Brant pointed out with a small shrug as he watched a scowl develop over Michelle’s features. “You might want to watch out, your face might stay like that and then you wouldn’t be able to try and ruin another man’s life.”

“Once I get my hands on you,” Michelle began, trying to get out of Don and Hart’s hold again, but it was no use. Brant took a step closer towards Michelle as a smile formed over his features.

“Why Michelle,” Brant shook his head slowly as he let out a small laugh, “it’s not who you want to get you hands on, it’s who’s money can you get a hold of. Now to the looks of things, I would have to say that Ken isn’t going to give you another chance in this lifetime. So it looks like you are all out of luck.”

“That’s it,” Michelle yelled, bringing her right heel down into Don’s foot as he let go of her. She elbowed Hart in the stomach before turning around to face Don. “Don, you were the one that screwed all of this for me.”

“Damn right,” Don nodded letting out a small laugh. His smile faded as he felt Michelle bring her knee up into his groin as he fell to the ground. His face grew red as he placed his hands over the front of his slacks. “You are so evil. So very, very evil.”

“There is more where that came from,” Michelle stated with a small frown as she felt Hart’s arm wrap around her so she couldn’t move. “Oh, this is great. I demand that I talk to Ken--now!”

“You can’t demand us for anything sweetheart,” Don declared, slowly getting off the floor, slightly hunched over. His face was still red as he approached her. “I’ve got things on you that you can’t even begin to explain.”

“Oh yeah, what’s that?” Michelle questioned rolling her eyes as she thought about what they were doing to her right now. “You can’t do this to me.”

“Don,” Brant walked up to him as he placed his hand on Don’s shoulder. Don’s eyes that were now slightly red from the blow that Michelle had given him. “Why don’t you show her what you have on her. Show her how much of an angel she really is.”

“I think I will,” Don nodded slowly, pulling his PDA out and holding it up in front of Michelle’s face. Michelle’s face grew in anger as he watched her struggle in Hart’s arms. “That’s right, you try and beat me down again. Because I know everything about you. And if I were you, I would listen to what I have to say.”

“What?” Michelle snapped watching as Don cracked his neck and tugged on his collar lightly. “Go on lover boy, what threat are you going to throw at me now?”

“Well, since I have your criminal record right here,” Don began, handing it over to Brant as Brant eyed it over slowly, “I know that you are one of the many con artists swarming this world. So that means, you can’t get away with what you were trying to pull off today sweetheart.”

“Looks like you are in a tight spot Ms. Sprite,” Brant declared with a wiggle of his eyebrow, “What do you have to say about that? Any last words?”

“Screw you,” Michelle spat as she tried to get out of Hart’s grasp again, but he wouldn’t let her go. “You don’t know what you are getting yourself into.”

“I think I have felt the worst thing you could even do to me,” Don coughed uncomfortably before tugging on the collar of his shirt once more. “I must say Michelle, if you even try to talk to Ken, you are going to regret it.”

“Oh yeah?” Michelle questioned, watching both Don and Brant nod slowly. “How in the world are you going to pull that off? You can’t keep me away from him.”

“Yes, I can,” Don stated with a small shrug of his shoulders as he looked over at Brant, “If you even come close to Ken, I will have my wife personally arrest you for harassment. You will no longer get to be the little witch that you truly are.”

“Looks like the game is over Michelle,” Brant shrugged his shoulders as he patted Don on the back lightly, “Say goodbye to your little plan because it’s over.”


“How is this happening,” Ken couldn’t help but ask finding himself face to face with Wendy Forbes after their long separation. He had fallen to pieces when she’d left, yet he’d tried to push on with his life. He could remember quite clearly the day she’d left going off to be with her family while he stayed here with his father doing what he could to help settle his estate during a dark period in the Ashford family.

“Ken, I wanted to tell you the truth--to explain why I left, but I couldn’t. I had to let you believe that I went off to be with my family because it was the only way to give you the chance to be happy,” she explained tearfully, “Your father asked me to go and…”

“How? Wendy what does he have to do with any of this,” Ken couldn’t help but ask still finding himself at a loss. “I tried to contact you after you were gone, but your number was disconnected. No one knew where to find you and…”

“When I left town it wasn’t because I’d wanted to, but because your father had convinced me it was the only thing I could do. He told me that if I stayed--if I put a burden on you like he had in his illness, that it would only cause you pain,” she broke down into tiny sobs, “When I left I truly believed that I was doing you a favor--that you would move on and find love again. I was hoping that you’d find someone who could give you the world that I couldn’t, but I was wrong. When Brant came to me and explained all that happened after your new love died…”

“He told you,” Ken felt as if he’d gotten the wind knocked out of him when she’d said that, “He told you about everything that has happened?”

She nodded, “And I’m sorry. I feel like this was all my fault. If I would’ve just stayed in town and faced the truth with you, then we wouldn’t have been apart. You wouldn’t have fallen down that dark path and I could’ve kept you from turning down that road…”

“This wasn’t your fault. It was mine. I got involved with the wrong woman,” Ken thought back to his affair with Susan, “I let her influence my life and she almost killed me.”

“I know,” she nodded before pausing, “and I also know about Caitlin--about the woman you wanted to marry…”

“Brant told you about Caitlin,” Ken replied stunned to learn what his brother had done, “But Wendy I…”

“I know that you loved her very much and that she was a source of great happiness for you. Hell, I’d read about your being engaged again and I was happy. I really believed that you’d moved on with your life. I heard of all the things happening for you and I’d had myself convinced that you were better off without me--that you’d finally gotten life on track. You had a woman who could love you and who could give you the world, but then when she died…”

“It killed me,” Ken explained with a small sigh, “Much like it did when you left town. Wendy why did you just disappear like that? Why didn’t you at least try to reach out to me? You left with a note and that was it. You didn’t tell me where I could find you where I could…”

“Ken, I left because I didn’t want to put you through hell. I didn’t want you to see what was happening to me--” her gaze lingered away from his pain evident in her voice.

“Wendy, I don’t understand,” he reached out to her again unable to resist the urge to touch her--to reaffirm that she was standing right in front of him.

“Ken, I’m dying,” she blurted out her shameful secret at long last, “I learned that I have a rare blood disease and when I learned that my condition was terminal I left town not wanting you to have to watch me fading away. Your father found out about the disease and he forced me to walk away. He told me if I stayed that I would only hurt you--would only steal away the only joy you’ve ever known in your life and I thought I was doing you a favor. I thought in running away it would give you the chance to be happy, but I never in a million years imagined that all of this would happen to you when I was gone…”

“Wait a second. Are you telling me that you left because…” Ken trailed off taking in her words. One thing struck him hard, “Did you say you’re dying?”

She nodded again, “I wish that it wasn’t true, but they told me that I don’t have much time left. I have a year at best and…”

“Oh my God,” Ken replied pulling her into his arms, “Oh Wendy.”

“Ken, I’m so sorry,” she blurted out falling freely into his embrace, “I wish that I could’ve told you sooner--that I could’ve shared this with you and not wasted so much time, but…”

“But nothing,” Ken pulled back just enough to touch her face lightly, “You’re home now. We’re together and that’s all that matters. I’ll be here for you.”

“Ken, I never wanted you to have to be here for me. I never wanted you to feel that way,” she explained poignantly, “I wanted for you to have a life where you could be able to enjoy all the things that I could never give you--all the love that I’d always wanted for you.”

“I had that when I was with Caitlin,” Ken remembering the love he’d found after Wendy left. He saw a faint flicker of something behind her eyes before he touched her cheek again, “and I had that with you. You were the first woman ever that I’d experienced that love with.”

“And you’re the only man I’ve ever truly loved Ken. Even now I know I shouldn’t be here on your wedding day, but I can’t let you marry that woman. I can’t let you make the biggest mistake of your life when I know deep down that she’s not what you need. I know in my heart that she can’t give you what we had. I know that she can’t make you happy…that…”

“Wendy, this is just so…” he trailed off not knowing what to do or say.

“Sudden I know, but Ken I can’t let you destroy your life. I realize that I gave up my rights to you when I walked away, but as my last request--as my dying wish I want you to stop from making a mistake. I want you to find love with someone who can make you feel loved--with someone who won’t hurt you--someone who can give you the life you’ve always wanted...”

“That’s just it Wendy. I had that life. I had everything I ever wanted right in front of me,” Ken explained remembering how Caitlin had pulled him out of the shell he’d been under upon losing Wendy. He could clearly recall that love and yet his memories were filled with another love entirely. He stepped forward a smile spreading over his lips, “I’ve been asking for a miracle for months now…”

“I realize that Ken, but I don’t think that she’s that miracle. From what Brant has told me about that Michelle woman, well I had to come here and stop this. I had to try to keep you from doing something that could ruin your life. That could…”

“Keep me from following my heart,” Ken nodded in complete understanding, “You came back here to help me see that what I had wasn’t as far out of my reach as I believed it to be. You came back because…”

“Because I love you Ken. Because I want you to have a good life, not one that’s clouded by deceptions,” she informed him with a heavy sigh. “Even though I’m dying, I won’t accept any less from you.”

“And I won’t accept that you’ve come back only to leave me again,” Ken announced reaching out to hold her. He squeezed her in his arms hugging her tightly, “I’m not letting you go again Wendy. I want you to stay with me. I want to help you with this.”

“Ken, it’s not like it’s something small. It isn’t something I’m happy about….something I’m…” Wendy started again unsure of how to make him see what her return would mean.

“I’m ready to risk it,” Ken couldn’t help but smile his fingertips teasing in against her skin, “I’m ready to do what I can to hold onto something real in my life. Wendy as crazy as it sounds I’m ready to hold onto you and never let go. I know that you need me and the truth is that I need you too.”

“Ken I…” Wendy opened her mouth to speak again, but all she could feel was Ken’s arms around her…the way that he held her and in that moment all she could do was hold onto him praying that this would be the new beginning that they’d both missed out on years ago when she’d left.


“What are you doing?” Russell questioned as Kyle pulled out his cell phone as they got close to their destination. “How important can a call be right now?”

“I have to call Shannon,” Kyle informed him, dialing Shannon’s number before raising the phone to his ear while he kept his other hand firmly on the steering wheel. “I promised I would keep her updated on Grady and Avery. She was looking for them too.”

“So we aren’t the only ones,” Russell nodded slowly as Kyle motioned him to be quiet for a minute. “Well, sorry. The dead man can’t talk.”

“Hello,” Shannon answered her phone quickly as she heard some static on the other line. “Hello.”

“Hey, it’s me,” Kyle sighed as he looked over at Russ who was looking down at his watch once more. “I thought I should call you and tell you I am looking in on the whole Grady situation.”

“You are?” Shannon questioned, letting out a small sigh as she switched the phone to her other ear. “So, that means that you know where he is right now?”

“Well, not exactly,” Kyle began, thinking of a way to explain the weird things that had just happened to him in the last hour. “You see, I’m going to the Denton cabin because I got a lead from someone.”

“Who might that be?” Shannon pondered the answer curiously as she heard nothing from the other end. “Kyle? Who is it?”

“You probably aren’t going to believe me when I say this,” Kyle began, taking a look over at Russell before shrugging his shoulders. How could it hurt to tell the truth? “Russell told me. I’m with him right now.”

“Okay, now I think you’re crazy,” Shannon informed him with a small laugh before shaking her head slowly. “Seriously Kyle, who helped you out?”

“It’s Russ,” Kyle replied firmly before shaking his head slowly, “just forget about the details on how this happened. I just wanted you to know where I was headed. That’s all.”

“Okay,” Shannon nodded slowly before letting out a small sigh. “I’ll keep that in mind.”

“Bye,” Kyle hung up his cell phone as he put it back in his pocket. He looked over at Russ who seemed to be staring at him. “She thought I was crazy too.”

“Well, you’re not,” Russell pointed out with a small shrug as he leaned forward in his seat. Sure, when he came home earlier, he thought Kyle was crazy too. But for obvious reasons, Kyle had a right to be. “We’re almost there, just a few more miles.”

“Okay,” Kyle nodded slowly as he turned on the next exit and let out a small sigh. Hopefully Russell was right about Grady and Avery being at the cabin. And hopefully the both of them weren’t hurt in any way.


Ria sat on the couch, holding the pillow in her arms tightly as she let out a small sigh. Kevin had her a little worried after she got his voice mail, but he had called while he was on the plane to talk to her a little more than just leaving her a voicemail.

“What’s wrong?” Trisha questioned, taking a seat next to Ria on the couch. She reached out to touch Ria’s shoulder gently. “You okay?”

“Yeah, I’m fine,” Ria assured her with a half smile before shrugging her shoulders. “I couldn’t be better.”

Okay, who was she fooling? She knew that she was still a little worried about Kevin. When he had called, he told her that he would be back as soon as possible. Which means, he would be back when he could. There was no certain day that he was planning on coming back. He just had to finish what was needed to be finished and then he would come home.

When Ria had talked to him for that short while, he did mention that he had to help out a friend or a friend of his was in trouble. Whatever it was, sounded really important to him.

“I can tell something is on your mind,” Trisha pointed out with a small frown as she scooted closer to her sister on the couch. “You want to talk about it? Or are you just going to keep it all to yourself? You seem sad about something.”

“I’m not really sad,” Ria answered with a small shrug as she thought about Kevin. Was she sad about him leaving like that? Sure, she felt something when he left without even saying goodbye, but was she worried or was she sad? “I just don’t know anymore Trisha. Things are such a blur these days.”

“How so?” Trisha questioned, noticing the look behind Ria’s face before letting out a small sigh. “So, where is Kevin Ria?”

“He’s gone,” Ria answered with a small shrug as Trisha stood up from the couch and looked down at her sister. She folded her arms out in front of her chest as Ria shrugged. “What?”

“What do you mean he is gone?” Trisha repeated the words that Ria had said. “Ria, what did you mean by that? I hope you don’t mean he is gone as in he died or something.”

“No, of course not,” Ria chuckled, looking over at the clock to see how long ago Kevin had called her. “He just had to go help a friend out with something. That’s all.” Right?


Angela lay in the center of her bed her eyes now fixed on the ring that Nick had given her. She touched the pearl for a moment remembering the thoughtful way in which he’d presented her with this token of his affection. Closing her eyes she thought back to his ever so sexy proposal from the top of the bar and she couldn’t help but smile. How he’d warmed her heart--made her want to believe in love again, yet there was something about him that had her wishing like hell that she had listened to the clues sooner. If only she’d given his dreams more thought--if only she’d tried to see what it was happening inside of his head, then she wouldn’t be laying here right now lost without him.

“Oh Nick,” Angela sighed heavily feeling the tears returning to her. While she wanted to say that this misery was only for Nick, she knew deep down it was from being burned twice. This was her second bad judgment call and she was certain this was karma’s way of trying to give her a clue. Apparently she had a knack for married men who were no good for her. It was starting to become a trend. Hearing a soft tapping at her bedroom door Angela opened her eyes to see Kevin standing in the archway.

“Can I come in,” he asked not bothering for an answer as he made his way over to the bed to lay beside her, “How are you holding up?”

“I feel horrible, but does that surprise you,” Angela flashed him a small, pathetic looking smile. She felt his thumb brush against her cheek and she closed her eyes allowing the warmth of his touch to comfort her, “I just don’t understand Kevin. Why does this keep happening to me? Why do I fall for the men that are so out of my reach that it’s not even worth bothering with them?”

“Maybe it’s because you’re just not ready to embrace love,” Kevin offered up thinking about everything that had happened to his best friend, “Maybe you’re spending all your time thinking about what Mr. Right should be like when the real right man for you has been here all along wishing like hell that you’d just notice him instead of chasing after the dream.”

“The dream is turning more and more into a nightmare each day,” she sighed heavily opening her eyes for a brief moment, her tear-soaked lashes striking against her face, “I mean first I lose Cary and then there was Nick and the baby’s father…”

“The baby’s father,” Kevin replied tightly, “another married man.”

“Gee Kev, don’t rub it in okay,” she groaned glaring over at him behind her sad eyes, “I mean I get that I’m a moron okay?”

“Angie, I’m not saying that. I’m just processing it all,” he paused his thoughts slipping from his lips, “although what do you really expect from some asshole you picked up on the beach? Actually in both cases that seems to apply. You took in two strangers you knew nothing about and…”

“And I screwed up okay,” she threw her hands in the air, “Are you happy now? I mean is this really what you came all the way home to do? To tell me ‘I told you so’? Is that why you’re here Kevin?”

“No, that’s not why I’m here at all. I’m here because I’m worried about you. Because I hate to see you upset,” he reached out to touch her face gently, “but more so because I love you Angie and I knew that you needed me.”

“I do need you Kevin,” she confessed in a pained cry sinking into his arms, “I need you more than you can even begin to imagine right now.”

“I know Angie,” he whispered kissing the top of her head feeling her tears returning again, “As I said before I’m not trying to judge you. I’m just trying to understand what it is about the wrong guy that always has you running for more.”

“Because I’m someone who obviously likes to hurt herself,” she explained with bitter sarcasm, “I fall for the sexy, unobtainable man who is so far out of my reach and I guess in my own way I hope I can change him. I mean with Nick, well he was someone who made it so easy to let him in. Just by the way he looked at me I knew he was special. I really, truly believed that he and I could have the kind of life that I had always wanted. I knew he’d be a good father to the babies and…”

“Babies,” Kevin arched a curious brow, “You mean you were thinking about kids with him too?”

She nodded, “Maybe eventually, but that wasn’t what I was talking about. I was talking about the twins.”

“Twins?” Kevin’s eyes widened as she raised herself up over his chest, “You mean you’re having twins?”

She nodded again, “I thought I told you.”

“No, you didn’t tell me at all,” Kevin couldn’t help but smile, “Angie that’s wonderful news. Two babies…wow we’re going to have our hands full, aren’t we?”

“Oh yeah especially when it gets to the part where they won’t have a father in their life,” she dropped her head down against his chest once more, “When they start asking about their daddy, I’m not going to have an answer for him because the truth in this situation is just plain awful…”

“Well, you might not have Nick or their father, but you still have me,” Kevin reminded her with a soft smile, his fingers teasing through her dark hair as he cradled her over him.

“I know Kevin. I’m grateful for that,” she sighed heavily, “I guess it’s just that in my own mind I had this vision of happily ever after--of the man I was going to spend my life with--share my children’s lives with and I just wanted my Prince Charming to sweep in and fill my world with romance and happiness and…”

“It’s not a bad idea,” Kevin added with a small smile, “In fact it’s one that seems very appropriate for you.”

“Given the way I’ve lived my life, somehow I don’t think it’s ever going to happen,” she paused pondering all of the things that had happened, “Although in it’s own way if I think about this, maybe Nick and I were both leaning on one another. I mean he was straining to find his past and I was straining to find a replacement for the man that I slept with on the island. I know it sounds crazy, but I still think about him Kevin. I still wonder what it would be like if we ever met again--if he wasn’t married and…”

“Angie you can’t think like that,” Kevin tilted her head up to meet his eyes, “You shouldn’t look back on the man you let walk away. He obviously wasn’t the right one or else you’d be together now…”

“Or maybe he was the right one and I let him slip away. I mean yeah sure he was married, but think about it Kevin. I’m having his children. Our time together created two very special lives,” she paused feeling a sniffle overtake her, “How can that be wrong when it’s a special miracle?”

“What you need Angie is a way to forget the both of them. Forget about that loser Nick and about the other one you’re thinking about,” Kevin curled his finger underneath her chin. “Forget about each one of them and focus on the person who needs you the most right now--on the person who wants to see you smile…”

“Kevin please,” she shook her head at him, “I don’t think I’m going to be smiling anytime soon.”

“Of course you will,” Kevin reached out to tickle at her sides. He saw her bite down on her lip to fight it from happening, but before he knew it she was in an uproar of laughter with his tickle torture.

“That’s not fair Kevin!” Angela squealed reaching out to launch her own attack. She felt him roll onto his back pulling her in over him. He reached for her hands clasping them together before he pushed her back onto the mattress once again. He kept her wrists in his hands while raising them up over her head with one swift movement.

“See I told you I could make you laugh,” he mouthed with a small smile, his brown eyes twinkling down at her, “Leave it to Kevin Adonis to make the impossible possible.”

“You’re always good like that Kevin,” Angela whispered her eyes fixed on his as his smile sent a warmth rushing over her. Unable to resist the urge she leaned up to steal a quick kiss from his lips. “Thank you for being here for me…”

“Thank you for letting me be that man,” he replied in a low murmur tipping down to tease his lips over hers in a soft, subtle movement. He felt her shift beneath him her arms dropping around his shoulders as their kiss intensified. He slid his arm down her body, underneath her spine to hold her closer to him. He turned to the side taking her with him as they lay face to face.

“I don’t know what I’d do without you,” Angela whispered her fingers curling over his shoulders before she leaned into another kiss.

“Lucky for us we’ll never have to face that,” he promised suckling on her lower lip for a moment. He closed his eyes thinking about how much he’d hated to see her hurting--about how hard he knew she would be taking losing Nick. All of those things flashed through his mind as he kissed her again and again longing to erase the pain that she was experiencing. Finally he tore his lips away from hers resting his forehead against hers, “You know Angie, I think I know how to fix this. I think I know exactly how to make you forget Nick forever…”

“Kevin, I don’t even want to mention his…” her words were cut off by another tiny kiss he dropped over her lips. His mouth moved over to her shoulder as his hand pressed in over the back of the dress she was still wearing. His thick fingers slid readily up over her back seeking out the zipper. Their eyes met and very carefully he began to tease it down over her body revealing her soft skin to his touch.

“Just trust me. I know how to make it all better,” Kevin murmured easing the zipper down to the bottom just above her hips. He saw her eyes widen as he smiled down at her wickedly, “I know just the trick to make you forget him and every other loser in your life.”

“Kevin I…” she began her breath escaping from her now parted lips. She blinked up at him a couple times before opening her mouth to speak.

“Before you say anything Angie,” he warned his lips hovering in over hers, “I want to assure you that I’m going to give you something that you’ll never forget--something that I most certainly haven’t forgotten, yet it’s been something that’s been long overdue between us.”

“Are you thinking what I’m thinking,” Angela questioned dropping her palms flat against his muscular chest. Her touched eased over the planes of his chest dropping down to his waist. Scratching her nails lightly underneath his t-shirt, she started to ease it up over his body.

“Oh yeah,” he nodded with a bright smile sliding back just enough to allow her to pull his shirt over his head. Once he’d discarded it, he reached out to her picking her up in his arms finding himself ready to give her something to take her mind off of Nick for a while. Sure, he knew she was hurting, but as he held her he realized it was all the more reason for him to remind her of the past that she’d put behind her. Maybe she’d been in denial about the simple pleasures they’d shared together, but tonight he vowed to remind her of them all over again if it meant keeping her from worrying about Nick a second longer.


A groan rose up from deep within Grady as his eyes slowly came into focus. He was surrounded by darkness and the heavy smell of gasoline filled his lungs with each breath he took. He tried to move, but discovered that he’d somehow been restrained. There appeared to be ropes around him and the harder he struggled to try to get out of them, the more he felt them digging into his body.

“How the hell did I end up in here,” Grady asked thinking about the turn of events leading him to these cramped quarters. He could feel cement underneath him, smooth and cold and he couldn’t help but wonder if he was in some kind of shed. He tried to crane his head to see if he could take in more of his surroundings, but there was nothing. He thought he could see a faint flicker of light overhead, but maybe it was just his imagination playing tricks on him.

“Avery,” Grady blurted out remembering his walk out of the cabin. He remembered watching Avery through the window, then there was the pain in his head and…

A gasp crept in over him with realization. Bruce. It had been Bruce Mathis. The man had caught him from behind knocking him over the head and then…

“Oh God. I have to get out of here,” Grady blurted out struggling against the ropes, “I have to save her. I have to help her before…”

His thoughts lingered to what Shannon had told him about the level of Bruce’s sanity or lack there of it for that matter. Right now Bruce was a man on edge and given the level of obsession Bruce felt for Avery, Grady was well aware of the trouble Avery might be in. Fighting harder to break free, Grady felt his leg fall asleep.

“No, not now,” Grady tried to get himself to get up--to get out of this precarious position he’d found himself in.

However, when all else seemed to fail, he did what he could think of in calling out for help. Sure this time of year he knew full well that no one would be up here--that this area was almost deserted, but there was an off chance. Grady shouted out again, but stopped when he heard the sound of something in the distance. Was it perhaps a car? He listened further. Was Bruce taking Avery away or was someone coming? Either way Grady had to find a way out of this situation or else he could risk losing Avery forever and right now that wasn’t a price he was willing to pay at any cost. He had to find a way to save her!


“We’re finally here,” Russell let out a sigh of relief as Kyle pulled up to the cabin. Kyle took a look around the area before him as he motioned Russell to wait. “What? What is it?”

“Well, they are here,” Kyle pointed out, pointing towards Grady’s car before taking a look around the land before him. “But why is it so quiet Russ? I don’t see Grady or Avery--or anything for that matter.”

“I don’t know,” Russell shrugged before getting out of the car and hearing Kyle following him out. “Should we just walk in or what?”

“I have no idea Russ,” Kyle stated with a small shrug as he looked up at the cabin before him. “It looks kind of dark in there. I have a bad feeling about this Russ.”

“Well if you have a bad feeling and I have a bad feeling,” Russ began, watching Kyle kneel down in the grass as he touched something on the grass. He watched as Kyle lifted his fingers back up that were now covered in red. “What is that?”

“I hope it’s not what I think it is,” Kyle replied with a small gulp as he rubbed his fingers together. He gave Russ a worried expression as looked back towards the cabin. “Russ, I think this is blood.”

“Oh god,” Russell shook his head slowly as he tried to think of what he was going to do next. Kyle slowly stood up as he looked back towards the cabin again. “I have to go in there. I have to find Avery.”

“What was that?” Kyle questioned, turning towards the shed as he heard a banging noise coming from inside it.

“I don’t know, but I am going to inside,” Russell stated with a small frown as he went to walk away before feeling Kyle pull him back by his arm. “What is it?”

“I won’t let you go in there alone,” Kyle demanded shaking his head as he spoke. “Two is better than one.”

“Kyle, check out the shed and I will be just fine,” Russell assured Kyle with a small shake of his head as he watched Kyle nod slowly.

“Be careful man,” Kyle shrugged, turning around and walking slowly towards the shed. Something wrong was happening right now and he was about to find out what it was.


“Someone please,” Avery murmured again and again yanking at her wrist. She turned her head to see the blood that had now covered her left wrist alerting her to the stinging in her arm. It was burning like nothing she could even begin to describe, but she had to escape--she had to break free and save her daughter before Bruce came back. She had to find a way to get out of here before…

“Avery?” she heard a voice call out to her, “Avery, are you in here?”

Her head arched in the direction of the sound and she found herself unable to believe her ears. There was a familiarity behind the voice, but it couldn’t be. Her heart was telling her one thing--her mind playing tricks on her, yet she tried to rationalize. It couldn’t be Grady. That voice was most certainly not Grady’s--although silence had surrounded her again. She closed her eyes trying to listen, but there was nothing.

“You have to get out of here,” she snapped at herself yanking at her wrist again. This time despite the pain it came free falling limp onto the bed beside her. She reopened her eyes seeing the thick cut over her skin, but now wasn’t time to worry about that. She had to get out of here before…

Footsteps grew louder in the distance and panic settled in.

“No, oh God no,” Avery cried out in a whimper a scream raising up from the back of her throat in spite of herself. She pulled her free hand up trying to do what she could to release her other wrist when she heard a thumping sound in the distance.

“Avery…where are you?” the voice questioned just as Avery looked up fearing that Bruce had returned, but when her eyes fell upon the man before her, there were no words to clearly explain what she thought she’d seen. He stood in the doorway masked in shadows over his broad shoulders and strong silhouette, his gaze sweeping in over the room until he’d located her. Horror registered over his handsome face before he ran over to her side.

“Oh my God,” he blurted out seeing the way Bruce had tied her down like some kind of captive animal. He dropped down to her side seeing the blood on the sheet beside her, “Avery, are you hurt?”

“Russ…” she questioned blinking as if she’d truly lost her mind. She’d seen him before in her head--in her visions, but never had it been as strong as this one. Her hallucinations and desperations must’ve been mounting for her to conjure him up at a time when she needed someone to save her, “Russ…is that you…”

“Avery, honey it‘s me,” he reached out to touch her forehead feeling her burning up against his touch, “What has he done to you?”

She closed her eyes leaning into the feel of his hand over her. Unlike before he felt so real--so warm and almost as if this could be really happening as if he could truly save her somehow.

“Honey look at me,” Russell pleaded with her pressing his fingers against the side of her face. Worry flashed behind his eyes, “Avery honey…”

“Russ, am I going to die? Is that why you’re here? Because he’s going to kill us?” she questioned feeling her body weighed down by the effects of the sedative that Bruce had given her.

“No, you’re not going to die. I’m going to get you out of here,” he promised reaching out to pull her arm out of the rope. He struggled with it, seeing that expert job Bruce must’ve done in tying her down. Still he wasn’t about to lose the one woman he’d fought like hell to get back to. Looking to her abdomen he could see that she was still pregnant. “I’m not going to let him hurt our baby. I‘ll keep you both safe.”

“He wants to kill her…he wants to kill our daughter,” Avery mouthed her head swimming with dizziness as she felt him move off of the bed, “Russ don’t go. Don’t leave me. I’m so scared. I’m so…”

“I’m not going anywhere,” he promised maneuvering himself around the ropes at her ankles. With a bit of effort he was able to free her left leg, then the right now having her completely out of the restraints. Moving over to the side of the bed, he scooped her up into his arms feeling her weak in his embrace. He kissed her forehead gently before promising in her ear. “I’m going to get you out of here. We’re going home.”

“We have to go to the hospital…we have to…” she slurred, her words growing more coherent. She tilted her eyes up to him again, her body melting into his embrace. It was then that the world around her failed to make any sense, “How can you be here…how can you…you left me…you‘re dead and…”

“No I’m not dead. I’m alive and I’m with you. More importantly I‘m going to get you out of here,” Russell promised her hugging her tighter against his powerful chest. He turned towards the door ready to do what he needed to in order to get his wife out of the madness that she’d been put into.

“Russ hurry…” Avery breathed feeling another sharp pain in her abdomen. She cried out in agony, her fingers curling into his shirt squeezing him roughly.

“Avery what is it,” Russ asked in a panic, feeling her tense up against him.

“He drugged me…he did something…I’m hallucinating right now in seeing you because he drugged me…” she repeated over and over again, her head dropping back as he held her. “He’s trying to kill our baby…he’s trying to take you away from me…take her from us forever…”

“I’m not going to let that happen Avery,” Russell promised firmly, a newfound sense of purpose sweeping in over him. He turned towards the door ready to do what was necessary to save his wife now that it was obvious she was less than coherent. Whatever Bruce had done to her, he’d made sure that she was out of it--that nothing was registering, but Russ wasn’t about to let whatever Bruce had drugged her with take her under. “I’m going to get you out of here Avery. We’re going to get some help for you and our baby…”

“The hell you are,” Bruce’s voice roared alerting Russ that the madman who’d attacked Avery was back in the room. Russ looked up from Avery to see Bruce standing in the doorway a gun in hand. Boldly Bruce advanced through the room his gun pointed directly at Russell.

“Get out of my way Mathis,” Russell snarled at his enemy, his hold on Avery tightening.

“Hmm, nope I don’t think so,” Bruce shook his head at Russell, his steps cool and calculated as he waved the gun around, “because you’re not part of the plan. You were supposed to be out of the picture a long time ago. I was under the assumption that you were long gone…”

“Yeah well you know what they say about assumptions,” Russell replied tightly, “They make an ass out of you and well…just you. You’re not going to have my wife.”

“And just why is that? Because you’re going to stop me?” Bruce offered up a maniacal laugh, the sounds vibrating through the room, “Oh that’s a good one Denton. I think that’s the best one I heard all week.”

“You won’t find it nearly as amusing when I kill you,” Russell warned him, his eyes fixed on the gun in Bruce’s hand.

“Oh now that’s even better, but really let’s just end with the games,” Bruce suggested his finger pressing in over the trigger ever so slightly, “Now I strongly suggest you put Avery down before I decide to have you return to the afterlife once and for all. I’ll give you to the count of three before I make your death an official one this time. One…two…”


...to be continued...