Episode 269

Hart stretched out on the bed feeling that first hint of morning chill over his toes that now popped out from underneath the sheet. He rolled to his side and looked to the clock seeing what time it was and with a yawn he mustered up enough energy to pull himself out of bed. He’d been up late last night with Sam and Jenna eagerly taking part in their slumber party and even now he was feeling the after effects of it. How he used to stay up all night and do such things in his youth was beyond him now that those days were long gone.

“You’re getting old man,” he mouthed to his tired reflection scratching his chin lightly as another yawn erupted from his lips. Oh to be twenty five again and able to move around with only two hours of sleep, that would be something, but now he would just have to find an artificial fix.

“Coffee. Yes coffee,” he decided making his way out of the room towards the kitchen only to hear the sounds of music filling his eardrums. It was a rapid pounding beat with a saxophone solo.

As he tipped his head into the kitchen he noticed Sam over by the stove singing off key to the music. She danced around doing a little twirl and he couldn’t help but let out a little chuckle. She must’ve heard the sound of him standing there because she practically leapt out of her skin with a gasp. She turned to face him fully.

“You frightened me!” she snapped at him placing her hand over the center of her chest, “Wow…that was something.”

“I’m sorry,” he stepped into the kitchen smiling at her, “I just couldn’t resist taking in the show.”

“Yeah, well at least next time let me know you are there so that the grand finale doesn’t end with me in the hospital after having the life scared out of me,” she teased with a small smile, “unless of course that’s what I get for playing the music too loud.”

“You weren’t playing the music too loud,” he shook his head at her, “Actually I thought it was an interesting selection. Something new on the music market?”

“It’s a local band,” she nodded quickly, “One of my friends is kind of managing them and I was thinking about having them play at Wayne’s party. This is one of their more newer pieces, but the others are pretty classic with a fresh beat every now and then.”

“Hmm, well I think they have potential,” Hart decided walking around the kitchen to survey the items on the stove, “So what are we working on in here?”

“Nothing all that special,” she shrugged her shoulders turning her attention to the stove, “Just a little bit of this and a little bit of that.”

“It looks and smells fantastic,” Hart noted watching her turn over an omelet she was working on.

“Yeah well wait until you taste it. I took a cooking class as an elective senior year in high school and trust me you’re going to love it,” she boasted proudly, “I made enough for the three of us even though Jenna’s not here at the moment.”

“Where’d she go?” Hart questioned leaning back against the counter.

“She had to run up to work for a minute. Something about some jerk off not filing paperwork right and it caused her nothing but a headache,” Sam shrugged her shoulders, “but she promised that she’d be back shortly. She said that it shouldn’t be too long at all.”

“Knowing her, she’ll be at work long enough to set the record straight, give them a piece of her mind and then make a stop for milk in the process before getting home in less than a half an hour,” Hart laughed lightly hearing the front door open, “and speak of the devil…”

“I heard that,” Jenna entered the room giving him a look, “Are you spreading nasty rumors about me again?”

“No on the contrary I was telling Sam just how resilient you are when a problem arises,” Hart waved his hand in the air in front of him, “Here we were discussing you and how talented you can be and then you appear.”

“With groceries no less,” Jenna handed him the bag she was carrying knowing full well what he’d said when she walked in, “How about you work on setting the table for breakfast?”

“Gee and did I mention that she’s a tad bit bossy too,” Hart laughed lightly moving over to do as Jenna had instructed.

“So how is that going?” Jenna peeked over Sam’s shoulder, “Oh that looks good.”

“As I was telling Hart, wait until you taste it,” Sam added with a grin pulling the pan off of the stove, “It’s awesome.”

“I’ll bet. I’m sorry that I wasn’t here to help out more. I wish I was, but then again you seem to have it all covered pretty well,” Jenna noted with a small smile, “So did you run your idea by Hart yet?”

“Actually, I was just about to get to that,” Sam bit down on her lip nervously. She turned to smile up at Hart with wide eyes. “We weren’t talking to one another that long.”

“That long for what,” Hart arched a curious brow.

“For me to tempt you into saying yes to the absolutely fabulous idea I have for Wayne’s party,” Sam explained with a bright grin, “but I’m absolutely positive that when I lay it out on you, you’ll have no choice by to say yes. I’m sure of that.”

“In that case,” Hart reached for his chair by the table. He pulled it out and took a seat opening his arms out to her, “The floor is all yours Sam.”

“Well,” Sam began glancing over at Jenna who nodded her on encouragingly before she began to spill the details of her plans for Wayne’s birthday party knowing full well that if Hart agreed Wayne would be having the party of the century.


“I think I deserve an answer,” Diego pointed out with a small shake of his head as they walked back into Sarah’s place. “Are we a couple now or are we just--whatever it is you think we are?”

“I don’t know Diego, I don’t know what you want me to tell you,” Sarah explained with a small sigh as she walked over and took a seat on the couch. She looked up at Diego with her saddened eyes as she fought for words to explain things to him. “I’m tired and I think it’s making me confused because I don’t know what is going on anymore.”

“I just want you to answer some questions for me,” Diego began with a small shake of his head as he came over and slowly took a seat next to her. “I know it’s been a very long night, but I just need to know some things.”

“Like,” she looked over at Diego, her eyebrows tensing as she watched him search for a question to ask her. There was obviously something bothering him and she wanted to know what it was that had him so knotted up.

“Do you still love Kyle?” he questioned, watching as she bit down on her bottom lip and shrugged her shoulders. Diego placed his hand on her shoulder, motioning her to look at him as she noticed the frown over his features. “Do you love Kyle? Was I just something to get back at him? Did you just use me to get back at Kyle and hurt him?”

“No, of course not,” she blurted out, standing up from the couch as she threw her hands up in the air. “How could you even think like that? I don’t know how you could even think something like that.”

“I’m sorry, it’s just,” Diego tried to explain what he was feeling, but he felt himself at a loss of words. A small sigh escaped his lips as he sat up from the couch and walked over towards Sarah. “I know that things are confusing, but I didn’t know the answer to that because everything has been hectic lately. I have seen you through so much and more than half the time, I’ve known that you loved Kyle. Just now, you seem so confused.”

“I am confused Diego,” Sarah pointed out with a small nod, she had been broken up with Kyle for just a few days and now she was with Diego. “This is all a little much for me.”

“Well, don’t you think you should have thought about that before we went through with everything?” Diego questioned with a small amount of disbelief. He had his mind made up, but now it was as if Sarah was having second thoughts. “Do you want to be with me or Kyle?”

“I don’t want to be with Kyle,” Sarah answered quickly, not even taking the time to think her answer over. There were some things she did like about Kyle, but there were so many bad things about him. “Kyle is all about his friends, he doesn’t have enough time for me. You will always have time for me Diego. Right?”

“Of course I will,” he assured her with a small sigh, reaching out to grab her in his arms tightly. A small sigh escaped his lips as he felt her hold onto him tighter, resting her head against his chest gently. “Do you truly want me Sarah? Do you want to be with me?”

“I…” was all that Sarah could get out as she thought about Kyle, the man she thought she was truly in love with for so long.

Sure, Kyle had a lot of good qualities about him. He was smart, funny, he had a nice body--a really nice body, but that’s not what counted. There were really bad things about Kyle, the way he left her to help Grady was the main reason her mind turned. Something could have been happening to her and he wouldn’t have known because he was trying to find out what was going on with Susan. When he went to go find Kipp, he left her all alone and by herself.

And standing before her at this very moment was Diego. He was a whole new story, he was trying to be there for her while Kyle ran off without her. Diego could be everything Kyle wasn’t, but right now her mind was confused with what she should say.

“You what?” Diego waited for an answer before hearing his cell phone begin to ring, making Sarah jump back. “Don’t worry, it’s just my phone. I have to get this.”

“Of course,” she nodded slowly, backing away from Diego as he answered his phone. She watched as he walked away from her to talk to the person on the other line and the thoughts of what he asked her ran through her head. Was she ready to be in a relationship with Diego?

“I have to go,” Diego informed Sarah, breaking her of the thoughts. “There is some more news on Bruce and I have to go to work. They are going to fill me in more when I get there.”

“I’ll go with you,” Sarah decided, walking over to the closet to pull out her jacket. She pulled it on, hearing Diego pull his keys out before stopping at the front door. “Ready?”

“Are you sure you want to come?” Diego pondered if it would be good for her to be going to a hospital. “I heard two people got pretty hurt the other night in the hands of Bruce last night. Are you sure you want to go?”

“Yeah, I think I will be okay,” Sarah assured Diego, seeing him nod slowly as he opened the door up to her. She would go to make sure her and Diego could finish their conversation later, but while he was working she could think things over. Maybe she could possibly come up with an answer for him too.


“Ouch,” Kyle hissed, looking away from Barbara as she stitched up the wound on his thigh. He let out a small breath as he looked over at Grady who was getting ready to have his stitches done by another nurse.

“It’s okay,” Barbara laughed at the way Kyle was acting as Kyle counted to ten slowly. “It will feel better soon, I promise you that. You were very brave I hope you know. The both of you were very, very brave.”

“Brave,” Kyle nodded slowly, looking down to where he was getting stitched up before looking back towards Grady. “I have to admit that I don’t do so good with needles, they kind of scare the crap out of me.”

“That’s cute,” the nurse helping Grady, looked back at Kyle with a small smile. She shrugged her shoulders before looking back to Grady. “A lot of people have that phobia.”

“Really? I thought I was the only one that was really that afraid of them,” Kyle replied with a hesitant laugh, feeling Barbara gently finish up with the stitches on his thigh. She placed bandage over it gently before smiling up at him.

“See, I told you I wouldn’t kill you,” Barbara pointed out with a small smile as Kyle shrugged his shoulders.

“With those hands, I never thought you would,” Kyle winked, watching her grab something else before letting out a small sigh. “Something tells me I am about to freak out even more though.”

“Well that something is right, but it will be okay,” Barbara assured Kyle with a small smile as sat down on a chair next to the bed he was sitting on. “You’re going to need to take your shirt off or at least roll your sleeve up so I can get to your arm.”

“Okay,” Kyle nodded slowly, reaching for the bottom of his shirt before leaning forward to pull it off slowly. “This isn’t going to take as long as the other one did right?”

“Nope, it will be quick--I promise,” Barbara smiled, a small laughing escaping her lips as Kyle turned his head away from her to look at Grady again before she even began anything.

“I don’t know Kyle, I think the nurses just get us out of our shirts so they can check us out,” Grady began with a small chuckle as he let out a small hiss, feeling the nurse gently working on him. “Ouch, be careful.”

“If you would sit still, it might help more,” the nurse pointed out as Grady frowned, looking at the woman before him. “It will only hurt worse if you keep moving.”

“Well, I really don’t feel like sitting here,” Grady argued further as he looked to the tag on the nurse. “Nurse Sherman, I really don’t think you understand how I am feeling.”

“Actually, I do,” the nurse added with a small shake of her head. “You are one of those boneheads that can’t be happy with anything, am I right?”

“Whoa, I think she got you there,” Kyle laughed as Grady shook his head slowly, “You might watch out man. I like her, she is good.”

“So, how old are you anyways?” Grady wondered, his eyes looking over the young features of the nurse before him. “You seem really young to have a job like this.”

“I’m old enough for the job,” the nurse replied with a small shake of her head. “Not that it matters to you.”

“Well, Ms. Sherman--you got a first name?” Grady questioned, eyeing her over slowly as she shook her head slowly. “Come on, a first name isn’t that bad. Ouch.”

“Finished,” the nurse declared, standing up and walking over towards Kyle’s bed. “Before you start, I’ll do it for you. We can switch, just put the bandage on him.”

“Okay,” Barbara laughed, walking over to Grady’s bed as Grady let out a small laugh. “I don’t think she likes you too much Grady.”

“I think that shows,” Grady chuckled, watching as she slowly began to stitch up Kyle’s arm. “She’s gentle with you.”

“Because your friend here is quiet and sweet,” the nurse pointed out with a tiny smile as Kyle let out a small laugh. “I’m sorry about your fear of needles Mr. Houston.”

“Please, call me Kyle,” Kyle smirked, his eyes looking down to his arm as he let out a small sigh. “It’s not your fault I’m afraid of these stupid things.”

“I still feel bad about it,” the nurse frowned as she finished up with his stitches. She reached out to grab his shirt as she motioned him to lean forward so she could help him put it back on. “I’m Deana by the way.”

“Well, it’s nice to meet you Deana Sherman,” Kyle smiled, hearing Grady let out a sarcastic laugh. “Please excuse my friend, Grady’s just a little weird after he got shot. Thanks for your help Barbara and you too Deana.”

“No problem,” Deana nodded slowly walking towards the door that Barbara already had walked out of.

“I hope to see you soon beautiful,” Grady got out, making sure that Deana heard him before she walked out and closed the door behind her.

“Man, I think you lost your touch,” Kyle laughed, leaning his head back against the hospital bed. “It seems like Deana kind of hates you there.”

“She doesn’t hate me, you should of saw the way she was looking at me,” Grady joked as he saw Kyle roll his eyes and slowly sit up on the bed. “What?”

“Forget about all this for a minute,” Kyle took in a deep breath as his brown eyes met Grady’s, “I need to say something to you Grady.”

“I think this is my job,” Grady declared, cutting Kyle off before he could go any further. “I really want you to know that I’m sorry and that I never wanted to hurt you or this friendship. I should have thought things over before I did what I did and now I realize I was wrong. I know that what I did probably will never change in your mind and I hope that one day you will be able to forgive me and we could be friends again. There, I said it.”

“Grady, I think I forgave you a little while ago,” Kyle pointed out, slowly getting to his feet and limping over towards Grady. “You stepped in front of a bullet for me man. I couldn’t repay you more. I am going to have repay you my whole life Grady. I would have died if you didn’t save me.”

“I have a way you could repay me,” Grady stated with a small shrug as Kyle nodded slowly. “Tell me our friendship is back, tell me we can be friends again.”

“Of course we can,” Kyle declared, raising his hand up and Grady grabbed onto it as Kyle slowly helped him up. Grady hugged Kyle as Kyle patted him on the back gently. “Thank you man. I don’t know what I would have done without you there. I would have had my head blown away.”

“You don’t have to worry about that because I think you have your head still there,” Grady pointed out with a small chuckle before shrugging his shoulders, “We saved Russ, Avery and Erin Leigh--that’s all we have to think about.”

“Erin Leigh,” Kyle whispered the name gently before letting out a small smile. Sure, everything seemed like a movie today, but when he delivered Erin--he never felt so happy in his whole life. Having Erin Leigh named after him and Grady was a great feeling. He never thought he would appreciate his middle name so much. “I think I want to find out how she’s doing. Let‘s go see how Erin and her mommy are.”


“What is going on in there,” Russ questioned pacing around the hallway as he waited to hear something on Avery. He looked to the double doors in front of him remembering how he’d hated to let go of his wife when he and Shannon had burst into the hospital. No one was telling him anything and as the minutes passed his fears mounted.

“I’m sure they’ll tell you something soon,” Dave offered in consolation still unable to believe that Russell Denton was standing before him living and breathing. It was just too incredible of a story to explain, yet here it was the truth before his very eyes.

“If I lose her Dave,” Russ shook his head thinking about how far he’d come only to get to this point in time. He closed his eyes tightly remembering what it had taken to get back home again--what it was he felt for Avery. “No I refuse to lose her. I’m not going to let this happen. I need to be with her. I need to be…”

“Russ,” Cheryl’s voice cried out through the corridor as he looked up to see his mother running towards him. Without another word she threw her arms around his neck hugging him like she’d never let go. “When they said that you were here--that you were alive, I didn’t believe it. I couldn’t believe what they were saying, but I hoped and I prayed and…”

She pulled back to touch his face gently, her tears pooling in her eyes. She squeezed him in her arms again, “My baby’s alive. My baby’s home.”

“That’s right mom,” Russ hugged his mother choked up on his own emotions as he squeezed her in his arms, “I’m home and I’m never going to be away again.”

“Son,” Elliot joined in the embrace not caring how it would look to the outside world now that he’d been delivered the ultimate miracle in having his son back home. For months they’d believed that Russ was dead, but now holding onto him, feeling him in their arms, it was like someone had answered all of their prayers. “Oh thank God.”

“Dad,” Russell returned the embrace keeping a hold on his parents until he heard the sound of the double doors opening behind him. Frantically he pulled out of the hug turning to see if it was the doctors giving him any news on Avery.

“Son, what’s going on,” Elliot questioned worried reaching out to touch Russell’s shoulders.

“It’s Avery. Dad she was at the cabin with Grady and Bruce was there. He attacked the both of them and…” Russ began to recount the tale of terror that his wife and his brother had endured.

“Oh my God. Is she alright,” Cheryl gossiped horrified by the news.

“I wish I could say she was, but he did something to her. He drugged her and she went into labor,” Russell’s eyes returned to the double doors praying like anything that someone would tell him what was going on with his wife. “I’ve been trying to get answers about Avery, but no one is telling me anything.”

“You mean something went wrong when she was in labor,” Elliot couldn’t help but ask his worries mounting.

“No dad,” Russell shook his head, “I mean not when she was in labor. Grady and Kyle helped us bring our daughter into the world. She’s down in the nursery and the doctors are making sure that she’s okay. Given what Bruce drugged Avery with, we’re not sure what the effects could be on Erin and Avery.”

“Erin,” Cheryl repeated a small smile on her lips, “You mean my granddaughter?”

Russ nodded a proud smile spreading over his face, “Erin Leigh. She’s beautiful mom. She’s perfect in every way imaginable…”

“And healthy too,” a voice explained from behind. Russ spun around to see one of the nurse’s approaching.

“You mean she’s going to be okay,” Russ rushed over to her needing to hear the news on his daughter.

“She’s a perfect little angel and from what we can tell thus far whatever it was that your wife was drugged with seems to have acted merely as something to induce labor. All signs are pointing to the fact that you have a perfectly happy, healthy little girl. She’s charming everyone in the nursery,” the nurse continued to inform him with a proud smile. “She’s really beautiful.”

“Oh thank God,” Russ hugged his mother feeling a moment of joy press in over him, “and my wife? What about my wife?”

“I’m afraid we haven’t heard anything yet. I can check if you’d like and…” the nurse offered simply.

“Yes please do,” Russ nodded excitedly thinking about the possibility of what could be happening to his wife. He could remember holding her in the car ride--keeping her in his arms as Shannon drove like a madwoman to get her to the hospital. He just hoped and prayed that it would somehow be enough.

“Russ, I’m sure everything is going to be okay,” Elliot tried to reach out to his son feeling a great many emotions running through his mind.

“Dad, after everything that’s happened I can’t afford for it not to be okay. I can’t lose Avery. Not after I fought so hard to find my way back home to her. I need her to pull through this,” Russell replied his voice shaking with fear. “I can’t lose her. I came so close to having everything and now…”

“She’s not going to leave you,” Cheryl promised him her voice full of hope, “She knows she has you and Erin to come back to. She’s going to be okay. I’m sure of it.”

“I just wish I had that confidence,” Russ admitted worriedly. “At this point I’m just not sure that…”

“Maybe we should go see Erin,” Elliot suggested thinking about the one person in the world who could help Russ through this situation.

“But what if they come back with word on Avery…” Russell’s green eyes flashed with worry, “I want to be here when they tell us what’s going on. I need to be here when…”

“I’ll be here,” Elliot promised squeezing his son’s shoulder again, “Go show your mother our beautiful granddaughter son. She needs her daddy right now because I’m sure she’s afraid in this big hospital all by herself.”

“You’re right,” Russell finally nodded taking a step back. “You’re absolutely right dad. I’ll see Erin, but if anyone says anything about Avery…”

“You’ll be the first to know. I promise you that son,” Elliot added further watching his son’s worries grow exponentially by the moment. He saw the hesitance in Russell’s eyes, but he knew full well that right now Erin was the best sign of hope for Russ and Avery. If Russ could somehow be with his daughter and hold onto her when his fears were overtaking him, then maybe just maybe it would give him the strength to believe that his journey back home would still have a happy ending after all.


Shannon walked out into the front courtyard area still trying to process half of what she saw tonight. Never in a million years did she imagine she’d walk into that cabin only to discover Russell Denton alive and right before her very eyes. If anyone would’ve told her that a few days ago, she would’ve called them certifiable, but now as she thought about the journey they’d made to the hospital, she knew that big things were about to happen.

Reaching for her cell phone she noticed that Don had called earlier. Wanting to hear her husband’s voice right about now and escape reality for a few minutes, she dialed his number hoping that she would catch him. When she heard him pick up she let out a breath of relief.

“You won’t believe the night I’ve had,” she started seeing that the night had faded into morning now that the dawn was long gone. She sank down onto one of the benches in front of the hospital closing her eyes and replaying the last few days in her mind.

“Actually I might have some idea about what went down,” Don’s voice replied uneasily, “Where are you?”

“I’m at the hospital,” she paused remembering her last conversation with her husband, “Where are you? Still with Brant?”

“Yeah,” Don replied simply an uneasiness in his voice. “He isn’t too happy right about now.”

“Because of Avery,” Shannon gasped realizing now what Russell’s return would mean to Brant. While nine times out of ten she would’ve loved to see his face as he discovered that he was about to be knocked down a peg, she didn’t think that now was the best time to tell him the news about his rival’s return. “Don I…”

“Are you with her?” Don asked hoping to help out his friend, “Did you find her while you were out?”

“Well yes, but we’re at the hospital and,” Shannon started to explain to him only to feel her phone cut out. She pulled it away from her ear seeing that the battery had died. She closed the cover on it letting out a pinched groan, “Wonderful. I needed this like another hole in the head.”

Looking back to the hospital Shannon decided she would be best suited to call her husband again from one of the payphones, but as her pager went off it alerted her that the higher ups had some news for her on Bruce. Reluctantly she shoved her phone into her pocket and marched back into the hospital ready to see what was next.


“Well what did she say,” Brant questioned his voice shaken with worry and fear about his wife, “Where’s Avery? What did Shannon tell you?”

“We were cut off,” Don replied apologetically, “but from the sounds of things, it seems that she and Avery are at the hospital.”

“The hospital?” Brant repeated worry sweeping over him like a heavy weigh, “Oh God is something wrong? Did Bruce hurt her?”

“I don’t know, but we can get over there if you’d like,” Don began watching his friend rush over to the door, “Stupid suggestion I should’ve known you already would’ve wanted to. Let me drive Brant since you’re a nervous wreck.”

“I just want to see her--to make sure that she’s okay,” Brant blurted out in a full blown panic hoping that something hadn’t happened to turn his and Avery’s world upside-down in ways he’d promised her would never, ever happen. If Bruce had hurt her in any way, well there would be hell to pay. That much he was sure of!


Kipp let out a small yawn as he stretched out in his bed, blocking his eyes from the sun as it shined through his blinds. He reached out to touch the bed where Kellen should have been, but there was no one there. A small groan escaped his lips as he slowly, slid his legs over the side of the bed.

“That’s weird,” Kipp yawned, running his hand through his hair tiredly. Another yawn escaped his lips as he slowly got up from the bed and grabbed his shirt off the floor. He pulled it on before thinking about not finding Kellen in bed with him this morning. Usually Kellen was asleep longer than he was.

Sure, Kellen was probably off trying to pull off something big for him because he always somehow pulled something off whenever Kipp was down. That was Kellen’s motto, if someone was feeling down, Kellen was going to find a way to make everything better. It was what he did the best.

What Kipp had told Kellen was totally true and that was the fact that he wished everybody in the world was as generous as Kellen. In specific, his mother and his father. He still couldn’t believe that they kept him away from the truth for all those years. At one point in time they should have told him. They shouldn’t have set it up like they had done.

Sure, a lot people would have told him to move on with his life because they would see what happened as something not so big. The only thing was, it was too hard for him to go and live with something that was a lie his whole life. How could people expect him to push that fact aside when they lied to him this long?

His thoughts came to a stop when he heard a banging coming from the kitchen. A small smile appeared over his lips as he figured Kellen was just making him breakfast again like he did last time he had been feeling down.

Kipp walked out of the bedroom and stopped in the doorway of the kitchen as he saw Kellen and Heather in his kitchen. Not only were they cooking, but they had the radio on and they were both in the middle of the kitchen singing and dancing to music. Charles was in his baby seat as he watched Kellen and Heather together.

“What in the world,” Kipp chuckled, watching Kellen hold the banana he must have been using as a microphone because he started singing into it.

“You're licking your lips and blowing kisses my way, but that don’t mean I'm going to give it away,” Kellen sang, shaking his butt and bumping it against Heather’s gently as he sang the song "Genie in a Bottle' with Heather.

Kipp heard Heather repeat the word baby over a couple of times as she sang into the wooden spoon with Kellen. Kellen shook his hips as he began to sing again.

“If you want to be with me, baby, there's a price you pay, ” Kellen let a small breath out as he continued to go along with the song. “I'm a genie in a bottle, you got to rub me the right way.”

“If you want to be with me, I can make your wish come true. You got to make a big impression, I got to like what you do,” Kellen and Heather sang together as Kipp let out a small laugh.

“Kipp,” Kellen gasped as he dropped the banana to the ground and Heather looked over at him with a small frown.

“Kipp? When does the word Kipp come into the song?” Heather questioned before looking up to see Kipp standing in the doorway. She hid the spoon behind her back before a small blush rose in over her cheeks. “Oh, that Kipp.”

“This Kipp,” Kipp nodded slowly as he took a step forward into the kitchen. “What in the world are you two doing? I think I have some cooks in my kitchen and I find out I have two pop-stars singing to my son. What’s up with that?”

“I’ll tell you what’s up with that,” Kellen began, walking over to Charles and picking him up slowly. He held him in his arms tightly before walking over towards Heather. “We were having some major fun with this little boy right here. He was amused with his mother and his best buddy.”


Kevin walked along the beach as he watched the sun begin to reflect off the water and shine out towards the shore brightly. He let out a small sigh, looking out into water before him.

“Daddy,” Kevin felt a gentle tug on his hand as he looked down to the little girl next to him. She had to be at least five or six years old--at least.

“Hey,” Kevin smiled, kneeling down in front of the little girl before him. He looked into the eyes of the little girl before him, noticing her eyes and how much they looked exactly like his. “You called me daddy.”

“Of course I called you daddy,” the little girl before him giggled as she reached out to touch the side of Kevin’s face gently. “You are my daddy.”

“But,” Kevin reached out to touch the little girl’s cheek before him, he searched the eyes before him knowing that this little girl had his eyes. “You have my…”

“Eyes,” the little girl finished as she let out a small laugh. She grabbed Kevin’s hand in hers tightly as she felt him squeeze her hand in his tightly. She reached out to wrap her arms around his neck to hug him tightly. He wrapped his arms around her tightly as he closed his eyes, hoping like hell this was real. “You and mommy tell me that all the time. You know that.”

“I do?” Kevin questioned, hearing the little girl laugh as she tugged on his hand lightly, motioning him to follow her. “Where are we going?”

“I want to show you something I made,” she replied, pulling him over towards the picnic table. She held up a paper and handed it to him as he looked over the drawing before him. “It’s a picture of all three of us together. It’s me, you and mommy together.”

“It’s beautiful sweetheart,” Kevin let out a small smile as he looked at the drawing and then back to the little girl before him. “I’ve never seen a better picture in my life.”

Something seemed wrong at first, but this little girl looked exactly like him. She had his skin tone, his eyes--almost everything she had resembled him.

“I have something else I need to show you,” the little girl replied, running away from Kevin and into the wooded area. “Follow me daddy.”

“Hey,” Kevin called out, holding onto the drawing and running out into the wooded area to chase after her. “Don’t run away, I don’t know where you are.”

“Come on daddy, hurry up before you lose me,” she yelled in a tiny giggle as Kevin felt a small pain in his chest as he fell to his knees. He reached out before him to grab the stuffed animal he remembered buying years ago.

“I can’t lose you again, I won‘t let you get away from me again,” Kevin muttered to himself as he pulled his hand away from his chest to see it covered in blood. The sky turned black and it began to rain down above him as he looked up to see a familiar face from the past before him.

“You should have listened to me Kevin,” the person whispered as they raised their gun out in front of him.

“Kevin,” Angela yelled, grabbing Kevin by the shoulders and shaking him gently. He opened his eyes and sat up quickly before looking around the room. “Kevin?”

“Where is she?” Kevin questioned, looking for the little girl he thought was real. He looked around for the drawing she gave him, but it was no use. “Where is it?”

“Kev, you need to calm down,” Angela tried to explain in a soothing tone as she watched Kevin shake his head slowly. She watched him begin to shake before falling off the side of the couch. She watched as he slid backwards towards the corner of the room. A small breath escaped his lips as he rested his back against the wall. She watched the way he was shaking as she let out a small frown. “Kevin, you were having a dream. It’s okay.”

“No, it’s not okay,” Kevin whispered, feeling his body still shaking as he felt Angela sit next to him and wrap her arms around him, making him rest his head on her shoulder gently.

“Kevin, you have to calm down,” she whispered, holding him in her arms as he let out a small whimper and she held him even tighter in her arms. “Kevin.”

“It felt so real,” Kevin replied, still feeling the pain in his chest. He raised his hands up to see them still shaking from the dream he had.

“Stop,” Angela whispered, reaching out to grab his hands in hers tightly. She lowered them down as Kevin bit down on his bottom lip. Angela backed away from Kevin to try and look at him, but he turned away from her. She urged her finger underneath his chin as she motioned him to look at her. “Talk to me Kevin.”

Kevin’s red eyes met hers as she saw the moisture behind them and that’s when she knew something was wrong. She caressed his cheek gently, trying to get him to calm down in anyway possible.

“Kevin, you have to talk to me,” Angela begged, seeing him shake his head slowly. She ran her hand through his hair slowly as she watched his eyes look away from her as he rested his head against the wall. “What did you dream about?”

“I can‘t tell you,” Kevin whispered, feeling her hold onto him tighter as she rested her hand on the back of his neck. He leaned down to rest her head against her shoulder once more as he felt his body continue to shake. “Angie.”

“It’s okay,” she hushed, placing her finger over his lips gently as he backed away and looked up at her with his chocolate brown eyes. “Everything is going to be okay. You’re in my house, you slept on the couch and everything is okay. Just try and calm down.”

“I’m trying,” Kevin felt her wrap her arms around him again as he did the same and tried to get his mind off the dream he had, reminding him of…

“Kevin, just try and skip over what you dreamt about,” she whispered, kissing his cheek gently as she ran her hand through his thick hair. She leaned up to kiss his forehead again as he began to calm down.

“I’m sorry,” Kevin apologized, watching as Angela frowned and reached out to touch his cheek gently. “I didn’t mean to scare you, it wasn’t meant to scare you.”

“We all have bad dreams, it’s okay,” she pointed out with a small frown, caressing his cheek gently as she saw a muscle in his jaw tense. “You’re going to be okay.”

“What happened?” Kevin questioned, looking into her brown eyes as she shrugged her shoulders. “What did I say?”

“You kept saying don’t leave me,” she informed him with a small frown she ran her hands over his shoulders gently. “Is there something you wanted to tell me Kev?”

“No,” Kevin lied, slowly getting up from the ground as he helped her up with him. His body was still a little bit shaky, but he couldn’t let her know what he was dreaming about--not now. “I’ll be fine.”

“Are you sure?” she wondered, watching Kevin nod slowly as he reached out to his jeans that he took off last night when he went to sleep on Angela’s couch. He pulled them back on before slowly zipping them up. She noticed the way that he was avoiding her answer and she reached out to run her hands over his broad shoulders gently. “Kevin?”

“I have to find my shirt,” Kevin stated with a small frown as he walked away from her, only to feel her pull on his hand to make him face her. “What?”

“You’re lying to me and I don’t like it,” Angela replied with a small shake of her head. “I would at least like to know if you are going to be okay.”

“I’ll be fine,” Kevin lied, feeling Angela’s fingers slide in against his. “I still have to find the shirt.”

“Screw the shirt, I have a present for you,” she informed him, leading him towards the kitchen, but stopping before they got in. “I have to cover your eyes.”

“Okay,” Kevin half smiled, feeling her hand over his eyes as she led him into the kitchen and he tripped over something on the floor letting out a tiny chuckle. “You really suck at this, I could have broken my neck if I fell.”

“Well, at least you would have fell not seeing anything,” she took her hands off of his eyes, showing him the breakfast table that had pancakes spread out over it. “Surprise. What do you think? I took a very long time making these for you since you camped out on the couch for me. They might suck, but at least you could say I tried.”

“Thank you very much Angie,” Kevin smiled, looking back at her as he watched her walk over towards the refrigerator and pull something out. She held it up as a small blush rose over his features. “Strawberry syrup.”

“I haven’t forgotten you know,” Angela walked towards him, poking him in his abdomen gently as he let out a small chuckle. “I mean, how I could I forget the strawberry syrup king? You are not truly Kevin Adonis without the strawberry syrup.”

“Right,” Kevin replied with a small laugh as all of his memories ran through his head about strawberry syrup. One of them including Ria and how they… “It’s perfect Angie, thank you.”

“No problem Kevin,” she winked, walking over towards her side of the table and taking a seat as Kevin did. “All I can say is--dig in and eat as much as possible.”

“Sure,” Kevin watched Angela pour the strawberry syrup on his pancakes, nearly drowning them in it. Of course, he hand problems with that, but it was awkward that she remembered this was his favorite. Kevin took a bite of the pancakes before nodding slowly. “Thank you Angie, this was great--it is great.”

“It’s great,” she agreed, nodding slowly before shrugging her shoulders and looking up at Kevin. “I can’t promise you the outcome that used to happen with pancakes and us, but…”

Kevin’s eyes got big at the memory of her nails scratching in over his shoulders as they kissed. The way she called out his name and the…oh god he had to get the thought out of his head. He shook his head trying to get the memory out of his mind the best way possible. In the best way he could, he raised his head, looking to the table, but still remembering how they were a while back in her kitchen on this very table--he had to stop this now.

He took in a deep breath as he swallowed the pancake bite wrong and began to cough. He put his hand over his throat as he continued to choke and he stood up from his seat. He quickly walked over towards the faucet to turn on the water and get a quick drink before he choked himself.

“You okay?” Angela laughed, walking up from behind him and resting her hand on his shoulder as he nodded slowly. Taking another big gulp of his water before patting his chest gently. “Did I offend you by saying that or…”

“No, just had a remembrance,” Kevin replied, turning to face her as he pushed his memory aside and looked into her brown eyes. “I’m better now.”

“Good because I have something really important that I need to tell you,” Angela informed him with a small frown, showing Kevin that something big was on her mind.


“It’s about time you got here,” Candice curled her lip in a pout thinking about the mess she’d gotten into after having to spend a night in jail. She looked to Michelle with a heavy scowl adjusting her skirt before another groan spilled over her lips, “What were you waiting for anyways?”

“It obviously wasn’t for you to be loyal that’s for sure,” Michelle glared at her, placing her hands on her hips impatiently, “After everything I would’ve thought that you would’ve had enough brains to keep your mouth shut. One arrest and suddenly you’re singing like a canary.”

“You have no idea what they were accusing me of Michelle. They had the Ashford name tossed around and…” Candice tried to defend herself knowing full well that the last place she wanted to be was on Michelle’s bad side.

“And nothing. That’s no excuse. How the hell are we ever supposed to work together as a team with you ready to turn me in at the drop of a hat?” Michelle sneered at her, a rage building from within, “We were so close Candice, but then you had to open your yap and blow it.”

“You mean you didn’t get to marry Ken after all?” Candice’s eyes widened in shock.

“No, I didn’t because Ken’s moron brother and his group of stooge friends busted in on my wedding bringing back some head case for Ken. I don’t know who the hell she was, but she was eating it all up when Ken walked out with her,” Michelle clenched her fists at her side.

“Wait a second, his brother brought in another woman and Ken left you?” Candice couldn’t help but reveal her surprise, “Michelle, how could that happen? I thought that you had him wrapped around your finger.”

“I did, but his brother was one up on me. I didn’t research enough for any potential female threats and in that sense I was left wide open and vulnerable where the attack was involved,” Michelle glared at her associate, “which by the way was supposed to be your area of expertise if I do recall.”

“Hey you were working it so good this time that I didn’t see the need. Ken seemed completely enamored with you. Between the donations and the gifts, I just assumed that…” Candice offered up in her own defense again.

“Yeah well you know what they say about assumptions,” Michelle glared at her, “and besides that it didn’t help me one bit when you were locked up and ready to pin all of this on me. Do you have any idea how much of a power trip your stupidity gave Ken’s brother and his friends? Those morons looked like it was Christmas for them and in a way it was because you couldn’t keep your mouth shut for five minutes.”

“Michelle, I’m sorry. I…” Candice started to apologize only to feel Michelle smack her right across the cheek.

“Don’t let it happen again,” Michelle warned wiggling her finger in Candice’s face. “Because so help me God if you try to turn on me one more damn time, then that’s it. I will bury you and not think twice about it. You will go down so far that no one will recognize you when I’m through with you. You’ll be begging for mercy and…”

“Okay I get it,” Candice brought her hand up to her cheek feeling the sting remain after Michelle’s slap, “I’m sorry. I really am, but I was afraid of what they were going to do to me.”

“Be more afraid of what I’ll do to you if you even dare trying to double cross me again. I’m someone you don’t want to mess with Candice. If you’ve learned nothing else, it would be wise to keep that fresh in your mind. I’m not about to let some idiot spoil my score for me,” Michelle took one firm, warning step towards her, “and now that this has soured, we’re going to have to learn how to pick up the pieces and make lemonade here.”

“You mean you’re not going to leave town?” Candice questioned with wide eyes, “Michelle, you can’t be serious about this one. It’s the Ashfords we’re talking about. Do you have any idea what kind of influence and power they have over this town?”

“I know precisely what kind of power they have and I want it to be mine. In fact I’m not going to stop until I have what’s rightfully mine to begin with,” Michelle warned with a wicked smirk, “and you’re going to help me make it happen.”

“No way,” Candice shook her head adamantly, “I’m going to get the hell out of town and never look back. You’d be wise to do the same Michelle. Chalk it up as a loss here…”

“Never,” Michelle shook her head firmly, “I am not going to let some moron like Brant Ashford and his pals keep me from the prize. I will reclaim what should’ve been mine and when I do, no one is ever going to stop me.”

“Fine, but it’s your funeral,” Candice shrugged her shoulders.

“No Candice, it’s our score because the way I see it, you owe me and you’re not going anywhere until I’m finally back where I should be with Ken,” Michelle mouthed with a wide grin ready to plan her next attack. Only this time she wasn’t about to let someone like Brant or anyone else for that matter stand in her way!


“So, tell me,” Ken smiled, taking a step closer towards the staircase as he saw Wendy slowly walking down the stairs and holding onto the railing. He offered his arm out to her as a wide smile spread over his features. “How has your stay been so far?”

“It’s been pretty decent,” Wendy informed him, wrapping her arm around Ken’s as he helped her down the last step. “Everyone has been really nice.”

“Like I said they would be,” Ken pointed out with a small smirk, as he felt her other hand run in over his arm gently. “I must say, it’s been too long not seeing you Wendy. It’s very nice because I have missed you for so long.”

“I’ve missed you too Ken,” Wendy whispered, watching as he turned to face her. She reached out to caress his cheek gently as he leaned into her touch. “Which is why I want to make it up to you in so many ways.”

“And you will be able to because I want to spend my every minute with you,” Ken assured her with a small smile, reaching out to push a small piece of hair behind her ear. “We are going to make up some of it today.”

“Today?” she questioned with a small bit of shock that he was that ready to start doing things. “What do you have planned today Mr. Ashford?”

“Well, I was thinking that we could go on a trip of memory lane,” Ken declared, turning towards the door and leading her towards it. “I figure we need to get your memories back in place, so we can pick up where we left off.”

“And where did we leave off?” she stopped as Ken let go of her arm gently. He turned to face her before bowing down and smiling up at her. “That my princess would be a secret.”

“A secret,” she pondered what he said before nodding slowly. She reached her hand out to his as a wide smile appeared over her lips. “Is it a secret I am going to like?”

“Oh, I think you are going to more than love it,” Ken assured her with a small nod as he opened the door for her and led her out into the front yard. “You are going to love every second I have planned out for us.”

“I’ll love every second I have with you,” Wendy promised, telling the truth deeply from her heart. She missed getting to see Ken every day and if this was how he wanted to make up for it. Then let it be. She would let him take her anywhere he wanted to.

“Well, your special day is filled with me,” Ken informed her with a small wink before holding onto her arm tighter. “It’s going to be perfect. I promise.”

“I’ll never doubt you,” Wendy whispered, feeling Ken lean forward and press a small kiss in against her cheek gently. “I never will again.”


“Well, so what do you think,” Sam questioned sitting on the edge of her chair eagerly awaiting Hart’s answer to the proposal that she laid out before him. After over forty-five minutes of going through each one of her ideas for the party, she hoped and prayed that Hart would take her thoughts into consideration. She eyed him intently, his silence overwhelming her until he finally cleared his throat.

“Well, I think you’ve put a considerable amount of time into it and it’s truly one heck of a presentation to give Rob Leveski for that night at his club,” Hart nodded scratching his chin once again before drawing out another silence.

“And?” Sam’s eyes widened eagerly.

“And I think that…” Hart toyed with her knowing full well she was holding onto his every word.

“Hart,” Jenna tossed out a firm look in his general direction.

“I think that sounds great,” Hart confessed with a wide smile, “and I’m sure Rob will approve every one of the ideas there. It sounds like it’s going to be a wonderful party.”

“Oh Hart, that’s awesome,” Sam cheered excitedly leaping out of her chair to embrace him, “I can’t believe this. This is going to be like the best event ever. I’m sure that once we put it together it’s going to be something that no one in this town will ever forget.”

“I don’t doubt that for a second. Wayne is going to love it,” Hart replied proudly thinking about how much fun he was having in helping Sam plan her party for Wayne. Maybe that would end up being a good starting ground for their relationship and after the party perhaps he would be ready to tell her the truth about being her father. Just as he was welcoming the idea of being honest with her another voice rose through the kitchen.

“Wayne is going to love what?”

Sam looked up to see Wayne standing in the doorway. She rushed over to him throwing her arms around him excitedly. “Wayne you’re back!”

“That’s right,” Wayne hugged her in his arms pulling her feet up off of the ground, “The seminar was boring so I thought I’d surprise you and come over. Jenna told me you were staying over here, so I figured I’d come on over and say good morning.”

“Good morning indeed,” Sam grinned leaning in to kiss him eagerly her arms wrapping tightly around his shoulders, “I missed you.”

“I missed you too angel,” Wayne kissed her back and Jenna smiled over at Hart approvingly.

Sure, maybe being Sam’s father Hart could’ve offered up some kind of opposition to the public display of affection, but Wayne seemed to make Sam happy and that was more than enough for Hart. He cleared his throat and motioned to the empty chair at the table when the two young lovers parted.

“Have a seat Wayne,” Hart suggested in a welcoming tone, “Sam made more than enough for an army, so why don’t you join us?”

“Well since you insist,” Wayne shrugged out of his jacket before plopping down into the seat. Sam quickly moved in on his lap keeping her arm around his shoulder.

“I’m so happy you’re back,” Sam touched his cheek gently, an obvious intimacy behind the movement.

“It’s good to have you here,” Jenna added sliding in closer to Hart. She squeezed his leg underneath the table watching his face carefully hoping that he didn’t react too negatively to seeing his daughter in her brother’s arms. However, Hart didn’t seem to be bothered by it as he squeezed Jenna’s leg in response.

“So Wayne has your sister told you yet?” Hart spoke up proudly, “You’re going to be an uncle.”

“What?” Wayne’s eyes widened as he looked to Jenna, “Seriously?”

“Oh yeah, seriously,” Jenna explained quickly, “It’s come as a bit of a surprise but we’re happy about it.”

“I say a toast is in order,” Sam decided lifting her orange juice glass, “To Hart and Jenna. May they have a great many years of happiness ahead of them.”

“To all of us,” Hart decided with a wide smile, “May we all be blessed with that and more.”

“I’ll drink to that,” Wayne added lifting his glass as well as the four enjoyed a quiet morning at Jenna’s place just enjoying one another’s company.


“So, how are you two doing all of this?” Kipp questioned, taking a seat down at the table where Kellen and Heather had spread out a different amount of items on the table. “First I see you two singing and now you make me a big breakfast.”

“What’s so wrong with that?” Kellen wondered, grabbing the orange juice from the refrigerator and walking back towards the table to set it down. He motioned to Heather to sit down as he held her chair out for her.

“Thank you Kellen,” Heather smiled as she took a seat and Kellen helped her slide in closer to the table. “Thanks Kelly belly.”

“No problem Heather feather,” Kellen winked, taking a seat in the middle next to Charles. “So, how does breakfast taste?”

“Fine,” Kipp chewed on his food slowly, looking between Kellen and Heather. He watched as they chatted about something and then Kellen grabbed a couple of pieces of fruit and put them on her plate. “I don’t get it. What’s up with you two? First you hate each other and then…”

“Me hate Heather? Not anymore,” Kellen laughed, shaking his head as he spoke up. “Heather feather is my best buddy, we have so many good ideas for a bunch of stuff.”

“A bunch of stuff?” Kipp questioned, seeing Heather nod slowly as she ate a strawberry. “What’s that mean?”

“He really has a good eye for fashion,” Heather informed Kipp with a small nod before shrugging her shoulders. “And he really cares about you. He would do anything for you. He told me about you being an Ashford and everything that happened to you.”

“He did?” Kipp gave Kellen a small look of disapproval as Kellen held his hands up in the air. “Why would you do something like that Kellen?”

“Because he was trying to help you feel better,” Heather cut Kellen off before Kellen could try to explain for something that really wasn’t wrong. “He was telling me because I was trying to help. Don’t get mad at Kellen for trying to help you feel better because that would be a really dumb thing to do Kipp.”

“I wasn’t going to get mad at him,” Kipp tried to explain before Heather held her hands up in the air, cutting him off once more. “What is it?”

“You know, being an Ashford really isn’t that bad,” she tried to assure Kipp as his dark eyes met hers in a surprised glance. “Wait, so that makes Charles an Ashford?”

“Yeah, it does,” Kipp nodded slowly, taking a sip of his orange juice as he tried to think of how Heather saw it as a good thing he was an Ashford. “I don’t see what’s so good about being an Ashford.”

“There are plenty of things,” Heather informed Kipp as she watched Kellen get out of his seat and grab her arm to motion her to follow him into the dining room. “What’s wrong?”

“Don’t even think about getting back with Kipp now that he is an Ashford,” Kellen snapped, resting his hand on hip gently as he watched Heather laugh.

“Don’t have a bitch fit Kellen,” Heather sighed, reaching out to squeeze Kellen’s shoulder gently. “He’s all yours Kellen. Anyways, I’m getting used to this whole best friend thing and best friends down steal best friends boyfriend.”

“Exactly,” Kellen nodded slowly as he let out a small smile. He reached out to give Heather a small bear hug as he lifted her up off the ground. He heard gasp for air as he set her down gently. “Sorry buddy.”

“It’s okay, just try and stay the gentle best friend,” Heather chuckled, patting him on the chest gently as she pointed back towards the kitchen. “What do you say we go make Kipp feel a whole lot better?”

“Sounds great,” Kellen smiled, reaching out to hug her once more, but this time more gently. “Thanks for everything Heather, you really have turned out to be a good friend.”


“What’s on your mind Angie,” Kevin questioned watching her closely seeing something serious building behind her eyes. He noticed the way she seemed to clear her throat uneasily before she offered up a half smile.

“What isn’t these days,” she tried to play down the situation before offering up another small laugh, “I suppose that was a bad answer, but seriously I’ve had a lot on my mind lately--more than I care to admit. However, after everything that happened with Nick and life in general I’ve got to thinking.”

“About,” Kevin searched her eyes still trying to read what was happening inside of her. He watched her fingers fumble with one another and she cleared her throat again.

“About my children,” Angela blurted out verbalizing the one thing that had been on her mind for quite some time. She eyed the floor for a long moment before taking in a long, slow breath, “Kevin after Nick left, well it got me thinking about a lot of things. I started thinking about what could happen if something goes wrong…”

“Goes wrong,” Kevin tipped his head to the side giving her a strange look, “Angie I know the wedding didn’t turn out, but…”

“No, I’m not talking about the wedding,” she explained taking in a small breath, “but rather about what happens next when the babies are born.”

“Well I know we have a lot ahead of us, but…” Kevin paused seeing something building behind her eyes, “Angie what is it?”

“Last night I had a dream about my mother,” she confessed biting down on her lower lip nervously, “I know it sounds crazy but I found myself there with her back in time. It’s hard to explain but…”

“Angie, I think I know where this is going,” Kevin reached out to squeeze her hand gently, “You’re worried about delivery and…”

“And given that she died having me Kevin, I think it’s a very valid concern,” Angela nodded in confession her worries clouding over her. Tears threatened as she spoke up once more, “I just got to thinking about what would happen to my children if something was to happen to me…”

“Angie, what happened to your mother was a horrible tragedy, but I can assure you that you won’t suffer the same fate. Things are different now and,” Kevin squeezed her hand supportively feeling her tense up at his words, “Angie look at me please.”

“I am looking at you Kevin and don’t you think this kills me to think about any of this?” she shook her head a sigh spilling over her lips, “However, whether or not I don’t like thinking about it, the truth remains that I have to have some kind of back up plan in the event something goes wrong in the delivery room.”

“Angie, you’re a doctor. You’ve delivered a few babies in the past yourself and you know that the odds are against anything happening to you. It should be a relatively easy delivery give or take a little pain,” he continued to encourage her.

“And if it is, then I’m willing to brave that, but if by some chance God decides that it’s time for me to be with my mother again, I don’t want my children to be lost in the shuffle--I don’t want my babies to be left out there to the hands of fate like I was. I mean at least with me I had my father and his horrible wife, but if I died, then the twins have no one.”

“Angie stop,” Kevin’s jaw clenched with a sudden uneasiness, “you can’t think like that.”

“Face it Kevin. I don’t have anyone who I could trust with my children. We both know that Cameron isn’t up to the task and given that he’s pretty much the only family I have--at least the only real family I have left, well that’s not something I want my children to have to grow up in. I know full well what it was like being the daughter of a mob boss and growing up in that world. That’s the last thing that I want for my children. I want them to have a happy, wonderful life with someone who loves them as much as I would and Kevin I want that someone to be you,” she blurted out wiping at her eyes as she forced herself to face the matter at hand.

“What?” his jaw practically dropped.

“If something should happen, Kevin you are the only other person in this world that I would trust with my children. Since we both know that I’m never, ever going to reunite with the father of the twins--hell I highly doubt I’ll ever see him again and obviously Nick isn’t who I thought he was, you are the only person I could even think about leaving them to. I know that if I was gone that you would give them all the love that there is in the world and…” she continued to plead her case with him.

“No Angie. I don’t want to hear this,” Kevin stood up bringing his hands up to his head, “I don’t want you talking like this.”

“Kevin, I’m only trying to be a realist in all of this,” she watched him pace around the room. “I know they’d be safe with you.”

“Of course they would, but they need you. We all need you Angie and for you to start thinking like this…” he shook his head firmly, “I’m not going to go down this road just because some jerk upset you again. Angie, if you stop thinking about Nick and…”

“Damn it Kevin. This isn’t about Nick. This is about my babies and about my needing you to be there for them if I can’t be,” Angela snapped back at him clenching her fists at her sides, “I know it’s asking a lot, but Kevin I wouldn’t dream of doing it unless I was absolutely sure that…”

“Listen to me Angie,” Kevin stepped forward taking her hands in his, “nothing is going to happen to you or to your babies. They are going to be just fine and…”

“Kevin, I don’t want you to argue with me. I just want you to think about this. I’ve already started with the paperwork having you drawn up as the legal guardian in the event anything happens and I want you to really think about this. I know that you are the only person in this world that I could trust will keep them away from the curse that hangs over my family and if you just…”

He pressed his finger over her lips to silence her, “No Angie I’m not going to just anything. Right now the last thing I want to think about is losing you because as far as I’m concerned that’s never going to happen. You aren’t going anywhere and it will never come down to this. I won’t let that happen.”


“Did you want to say something to me?” Diego questioned, looking over at Sarah who was on the other side of the elevator. It seemed like she kept trying to tell him something while they were in the car, but she never came out with it. “What is it Sarah?”

“I just thought I should tell you something,” Sarah began, taking in a deep breath as the elevator doors opened and someone called out Sarah’s name before she could finish.

“Sarah, thank god you’re here,” Shannon ran over to Sarah who walked out of the elevator and walked over towards Shannon. “I was going to call you, but this makes things much better.”

“What’s wrong?” Sarah questioned, watching Shannon think things over before taking in a deep breath. “What is it Shannon?”

“It’s Kyle,” Shannon informed Sarah with a small shake of her head. She took in a deep breath as she saw Sarah’s eyes begin to worry. “Last night he saved three people and went up against Bruce.”

“He what?” Diego piped in, walking in from behind Sarah and standing next to her. “Is he is still alive?”

“No,” Shannon answered with a small shake of her head as she heard Sarah gasp and place her hand over her lips. “No, not Kyle. Kyle’s alive, Bruce is dead.”

“Oh, thank god,” Sarah breathed out, trying to take in what Shannon was telling her. “What happened to him?”

“He got stabbed and I think he is getting stitched up right now,” Shannon stated with a small shrug as Sarah looked back at Diego. “He was a real hero trying to save all those people and bringing Erin into the world.”

“Erin?” Diego muttered the name as Shannon nodded slowly. “Who is Erin?”

“Russell and Avery’s baby,” Shannon answered with a small shrug as she remembered what had happened. “Kyle was the one who delivered her.”

“Kyle?” Sarah whispered, not believing that Kyle could do something like that. “This is a little weird.”

“Tell me about it, I’ll let Kyle finish the story for you,” Shannon began, taking in a deep breath as she thought things over. “All I have to tell you is him and Grady are in the same room if you want to see him. Grady had got shot and Kyle got stabbed--something is wrong with Avery, but no one knows what it is yet.”

“Thanks Shannon,” Sarah sighed, looking down to her watch as Shannon walked away slowly. Sarah felt Diego’s hand on her shoulder as she pulled away from him. “Kyle was almost dying while I was away from him.”

“I know,” Diego felt a small amount of guilt building up inside of him as he reached out to caress her cheek gently, but she pulled away. “Let’s go see him.”


Russell returned to the hallway leaving his mother down in the nursery with Erin after he’d decided to come back and check on Avery’s condition. He was just about to reach those dreaded double doors when he spotted Grady and Kyle up ahead. Grady now had a sling over his arm where he’d been shot and Kyle was on crutches that he seemed very uncomfortable with. Russ watched them for a moment before seeing Kyle hold up one of his crutches and toss it to the side in frustration.

“I don’t need these things,” Kyle muttered under his breath trying to brave it even on a hurt leg. He raised his eyes to see Russell approaching, “Hey pal, how’s Erin?”

“She’s doing good. How are you two holding up,” Russ looked between the two of them curiously.

“We’ll live,” Grady replied quickly worry building behind his eyes, “What about Avery? Any word yet?”

“Nothing,” Russ shook his head a sigh overtaking him, “and that bothers me--a lot. I keep asking the nurses requesting that they tell me when they hear anything, but at this point in time no one seems to know much of anything…”

“That’s not right,” Kyle added gruffly, “In fact maybe I should go around and see what I can find out.”

“I don’t think your beating up the hospital staff is going to get us the answers we need Kyle,” Grady piped in seeing the flash of anger behind his friend’s eyes.

“You think you’ve got a better idea Grady?” Kyle challenged arching a curious brow.

“I’m not sure, but maybe if we give it a few more minutes,” Grady paused thinking about the condition Avery had been in before he passed out. The last week began to flash before his eyes and his mind seemed to freeze in to the time he and Avery had spent with one another--to the night he’d almost killed himself. He could remember the way she’d saved him--the way she’d kept him holding on to the world around him and the way that they had made love to one another.

Immediately his cheeks grew hot at the memory and his green eyes shifted over to Russ. Guilt replaced the longing that had filled Grady since that moment in time when he and Avery had taken that next step to becoming lovers. At the time Grady had believed that his brother had died--that Jade was gone as well and Grady and Avery were drawn together by fate--pulled together by the buried feelings they’d had for one another, yet with Russ standing before him, he knew that those feelings were a betrayal to everything Grady and Russ had shared as brothers--to the memory of the love Russ and Avery had with one another. Bringing his hand up over the back of his neck in an attempt to distract himself, Grady let out a small yelp feeling pain in his shoulder.

“Hey, are you okay,” Russell questioned his eyes snapping to his brother once again, “Grady, are you sure that you got everything checked out?”

“I’m stitched and everything is fine,” Grady nodded quickly, “Right now we just need to focus on Avery--on her getting better.”

“I just wish I had some answers,” Russell rubbed his palms together worry sweeping over him.

“Trust me Russ, she’s not going anywhere,” Grady touched his brother’s arm gently thinking about the force behind Avery when she was determined to overcome a challenge. Grady remembered how she’d stubbornly pulled him out of his lowest point--giving him reason all over again to believe in something beyond the world that he’d shut himself in when hopelessness set in. It was Avery’s strength that kept him alive and now he knew that same strength would have her pulling to get better for Russ and Erin. They were her world and she wasn’t about to walk away just yet. “Avery’s going to keep fighting until she’s back and running around yelling at the rest of us.”

“You mean yelling at you,” Kyle joked lightly in an attempt to cool the air between all of them when another voice rose through the hospital corridor.

“Denton you son of a bitch, what did you do to my wife?” Brant’s voice roared as Grady spun around to see Brant approaching with Don at his heels looking less than thrilled. Suddenly Grady remembered all the things that Russ didn’t know about Avery--the things that had happened in Russell’s absence and Grady quickly rushed forward hoping to stop a conflict before it started.

“Where the hell is she Denton? What have you done to her now? How could you let her get caught up in all of this?” Brant’s eyes narrowed at Grady, his eyes ready to tear him to pieces.

“We’ll talk about this outside,” Grady began in a smooth and even tone hoping like hell Russ wouldn’t realize what was going one.

“No we’ll talk about this here. We’ll talk about how you’re trying to manipulate my wife into your bed and…” Brant’s words came to an abrupt halt as his dark eyes traveled beyond where Grady stood to the man who was now approaching in an obvious rage. “What in the…”

“Who the hell let you in here Ashford?” Russell snarled at Brant realizing that this was one face from the past that he hoped he hadn’t encountered for a very long time.

“Russ how could you…” Brant’s eyes widened, shock pouring out over him. He eyed Grady for a moment before his gaze returned to Russ in a perpetual state of disbelief. “No you can’t be…this can’t be…”

“Brant,” Don touched his friend’s arm, but before Brant could react to the movement, Don watched his friend fall to the floor face first much to his dismay.

“Well, doesn’t that just figure,” Russell folded his arms in front of his chest, “Just when I figured being home was getting better, he had to show up.”

“He’s not staying,” Grady promised making a small step towards Brant in the hopes of getting him out of the hospital before Brant made an even bigger scene.

“Stay back!” Don warned glaring up at Grady, “If you take one step towards him, I’ll have security escort all of you out of here.”

“You wouldn’t dare,” Kyle mumbled under his breath watching Don tend to Brant who was now passed out on the ground.

“Just watch me,” Don looked up at the three men in front of him, “I don’t know what the heck is going on here, but someone had better start with some answers starting now!”


...to be continued...