Episode 275

Valerie adjusted her dress looking to the dessert she’d prepared to bring with her to Seth’s. Everything was perfect down to the last detail except for the fact that when she’d knocked before he hadn’t answered the door. Frowning she knocked on the door again hoping that he would come to see her, but still she found herself met by no answer.

“Damn it Seth. Where are you,” she huffed feeling her patience slipping away as her mind conjured up images of him and Blake with one another. Anger flared over her and she started to pound on the door. “Seth open up!”

After a few seconds there was a sound down the hall and a man spoke up to her, “He’s not home. You just missed him.”

“What?” she spun around to see some scrawny looking guy standing before her.

“I said that he’s gone,” he replied moving in closer to her, “He left with Blake and Ria a little while ago.”

“And how the hell would you know something like that?” she set the cake down on the floor and placed her hands on her hips with heavy irritation.

“Because I saw them leave no more than a half an hour ago,” he replied with a small annoyed voice when his eyes fell upon her again. Immediately his tune changed upon recognition of her, “You’re Valerie Madison, aren’t you?”

“Yes, I am,” she spun around bending down to pick up the cake she’d brought with her.

“Wow, how cool is that? I mean I never ever believed in a million years that I would walk into the hallway and see Valerie Madison standing right in front of me like this,” he continued excitedly, “But of course here you are and this is like beyond awesome. I mean I can’t believe that I’m seeing you standing in front of me and…”

“Yeah whatever,” she rolled her eyes standing up straighter again, “So where was it you said that you saw Seth go?”

“I’m not really sure exactly. I mean I saw him a little while ago and…” he began clearing his throat uneasily, “By the way my name is Barry. Barry Winston.”

“That’s nice,” she ignored his comment, “now you said you’re not really sure or you do have an idea about where he went.”

“I heard him say something about going out for some dinner or something,” he shrugged his shoulder watching her with complete interest, “Wow you’re even more beautiful than you are in your photo shoots. I mean I think I’ve got to be like one of your biggest fans. I think I have just about everything that you ever worked on there in my apartment. My collection is extensive and…”

“Yeah that’s great Bradley,” she pushed the cake she’d made for Seth into his arms, “Have a cake.”

“Gee thanks,” he replied watching her rush off down the hallway, “Hey you want to share this with me? Hey!”

However, his words were lost as Valerie stepped onto the elevator ready to do what was necessary to find Seth. Sure he might be out on the town, but she would find him and when she did, well she was certain she’d give him a whole new world full of reasons to forget about Blake Ashford forever!


“So what have you been keeping busy with lately?” Seth questioned opening up a conversation with his best friend. “I haven’t seen you as often as I used to.”

“I’ve been busy, which is nothing new,” Ria replied seeing Blake and Seth seated beside one another. Just watching them interact with one another made her miss Kevin even more. She let out a long sigh, “You know how it is with the hospital.”

“The hospital or with the new man in your life?” Seth arched a curious brow giving Ria a long look. “Don’t you think it’s time that you fessed up and started telling me about him especially since he seems to be such a big part of your life lately?”

“Who said my being busy had anything to do with a man,” Ria mouthed glancing over at Blake suspiciously.

“She’s been working like mad at the hospital Seth. You can’t get on her for that,” Blake patted his arm gently, “I mean if we could all have such a rewarding job…”

“And a rewarding love life?” Seth questioned again, “Ria what’s the story on this one?”

“There isn’t a story,” Ria lied hating that she couldn’t be honest with Seth about her relationship with Kevin. Then again at this point even though he was far away, there really wasn’t much to tell. He’d offered up the most romantic words on the phone, but she wondered if she’d be able to experience them in person again anytime soon.

“Um excuse me,” the woman at the table next to them spoke up calling out to the waitress, “We ordered strawberry pancakes with extra strawberry syrup.”

“I’ll be right on it,” the waitress promised rushing off as Ria redirected her focus to the two lovers in front of her. It was clear that they were enjoying their quiet time with one another and it made her miss Kevin all the more.

“Hello Earth to Ria,” Seth waved his hand in front of her face seeing the dreamy expression behind her eyes.

“Oh I’m sorry. What were you saying?” Ria questioned trying to keep up with the conversation when she heard a faint ringing in her pocket. Immediately recognizing the ring tone, she felt her heart do a flip flop. She pulled the phone from her pocket and quickly answered. “Hello.”

“And speak of the devil,” Seth mouthed seeing how Ria lit up at the very sound of the phone ringing. He exchanged looks with Blake before watching Ria speak quietly into the phone.

“Hold that thought one second,” Ria placed her hand over the mouth of the phone before holding up her other finger, “I will be right back. I have to take this outside.”

“Right,” Seth watched her walk off before looking to Blake, “So that’s the secret lover, eh?”

“You know Seth, I’m sure when she’s ready she’ll tell us all about him,” Blake touched his arm gently, “Maybe she’s just worried about how we’ll all react to the relationship she has going. You can see it obviously makes her happy, so maybe she’s just afraid you won’t approve.”

“If he doesn’t treat her right, yeah I’m not going to approve. I mean what kind of guy won’t at least take the time to get to know the people that his girlfriend cares about. It just seems strange to me that neither you nor I or even Trisha for that matter know anything about this creep. I mean what if he’s someone that’s only going to hurt her? What if he has a wife or a family that he’s keeping from her and he wants to keep things quiet so that his secret doesn’t get out?”

“Trust me Seth. When the time is right I’m sure that Ria and her mystery man will want to tell the world about their relationship,” she patted his leg gently offering up a warm smile without giving too much away about what she knew. “And maybe I might sound off base here, but I think that whomever he is, he’s going to make her happy. I don’t think he’s one of those jerks that is in it for some cheap thrill.”

“But how do you know that?” Seth tipped his head to the side, his deep brown eyes gazing into hers.

“Well, I don’t know that, but just look at Ria. Look at the way she seemed to glow when he called. If I know one thing I know love when I see it, and that girl is most definitely in love,” Blake revealed with a warm expression, “and I have a feeling that it’s going to work out for her just like she’s hoping for.”

“I hope you’re right,” Seth decided wondering if his best friend had finally found the real thing in her life after all this time.


“I miss you so much Kevin,” Ria sighed, walking out of the restaurant for a moment to be alone to talk to Kevin. It was hard not seeing Kevin every day. She was used to always being able to see him. It was hard for her not to.

“I miss you too Ria,” Kevin replied, letting out a deep breath as he sat down on the couch and looked down to the watch on his wrist. “What are you up to sweetheart?”

“I’m just out with Seth and Blake, they took me out to eat,” Ria informed him with a small shrug of her shoulders, looking back to see Seth and Blake talking to each other at the table. “Nothing good has been happening since you left. But enough about me, how are you doing babe?”

“God, if you only knew the half of it,” he groaned, bringing his hand up and through his hair. “Angie has been out of it--I guess the only question you could truly ask is, what hasn’t happened?”

“Are things really that bad?” Ria questioned, hearing the exhaustion behind Kevin’s voice as he let out another small sigh. “Want to talk about it honey?”

“There would be too much to talk about if I told you,” Kevin yawned before stretching out on the couch and sliding down into it. “Let’s just say I think this whole pregnancy thing is making her very emotional.”

“I wouldn’t want that,” she frowned, not quite sure to answer what Kevin was telling her because she really didn’t know this Angie too well. “I hope she feels better.”

“I’m sure she will be fine,” he assured her with a small nod of his head before switching the phone to his other ear. “What did you mean by you wouldn’t want that? Do you mean you would never want to have a baby and be pregnant?”

“Oh god no,” Ria answered not even taking the time to think about the answer because she already knew the answer to that easily. “Of course I want to have a baby one day Kevin, there isn’t a doubt in my mind that I do. I meant that I wouldn’t want to be all emotional like that.”

“Oh, you had me worried for a second there,” Kevin let out a sigh of relief before shrugging his shoulders. “I thought…I really don’t know what I thought…”

“Did you think I wouldn’t want to have a family with the best man on this Earth?” Ria questioned with a small shake of her head as a smile appeared over her lips. “If you did--you were extremely wrong.”

“I don’t know what I am thinking lately--you are going to have to excuse me sweetheart,” Kevin leaned back more into the couch more, closing his eyes trying to image the beauty of her features inside of his head. “I’m just tired and I miss you.”

“I miss you too,” Ria stated letting out a deep breath before shrugging her shoulders. “I miss you way too much.”

“Well, in that case--I guess it’s a good time to tell you now,” Kevin decided with a small smirk as he could just see her perking up on the other end of the phone. “Maybe I shouldn’t.”

“Tell me what Kevin Adonis?” Ria quickly got out, wondering what it was he was going to tease her with this time. Every time she would try and act like she wasn’t interested, but this time was big because he wasn’t here with her. “What were you going to say?”

“Well, it isn’t so much as saying something,” he began with a small smirk as he continued to go on, making her hold off on knowing what he was going to tell her. “It’s more like seeing. You will have to maybe go home and see what it is.”

“What did you do?” Ria wondered, hearing Kevin let out another small laugh on the other side of the phone. “Do I really have to go home to find out?”

“Well, if you didn’t go home--you would never know what I got you,” Kevin pointed out with a small nod as she let out a small frown. “So, the answer is yes.”

“Tell me what you did,” Ria smirked, leaning back against the wall behind her as Kevin let out another small laugh. “Come on Kevy, it’s going to take a while for me to get home.”

“It raises the interest in a surprise to make a person wait to know what they got,” he pointed out with another small laugh as he shrugged his shoulders. “There is a thing to be said about surprises--if you go around telling people about it, it gets ruined. So you are going to have to see for yourself. I can’t tell you, simply because I can’t go against what I am Ria. You are just going to have find out when you get home.”


Angela sat back in her living room looking around at all of the things she’d had prepared for the engagement party. After Nick had left town she hadn’t had much choice, but to call it quits. Even now she could feel the sting of his retreat, but she’d tried to ignore it. She’d tried to push it aside, but now that she was alone it was no use. Leaning back further into her chair she closed her eyes remembering the times that they’d spent with one another. Oh how she wished things had turned out differently for them.

“Quit dreaming about what will never be,” she grumbled to herself hearing her phone ringing pulling her out of her memories. Reaching for it lazily she lifted it to her ear and spoke up in a groggy voice. “Hello.”

“Hey sexy, tell me you’re naked and you have a bottle of champagne with you and I promise you’ll have a party ahead of you tonight,” a low, sexy voice blurted into the phone causing her to open her eyes more completely, a small smile building over her features.

“Naked you say,” she replied with a small laugh, “well I may have those things, but only for the right company.”

“Hmm, well since you say the right company,” a laugh followed, “How about you whip up your dirtiest fantasy and give me a couple of hours to hop on a flight out there and then we’ll take our time reenacting it with one another.”

“Chris,” Angela squealed with a tiny laugh, “how the hell are you?”

“I’ll be better if you say yes,” he mouthed eagerly hearing her laughter over the line.

“How did you get this number,” she sat up straighter thinking about her old friend.

“What can I say? When I saw your e-mail it got me thinking about the good old days and I used my job as super sleuth to find where you were. I’ll have you know that once you e-mailed me I kicked out a very sexy, very leggy blonde who would make a many men jealous of me because I was with her.”

“A pity for you because I’m sure talking to me won’t be nearly as interesting,” she teased finding herself suddenly pulled out of the dark mood she’d been in for most of the week.

“Now that’s where I tend to be of a difference of opinion. If I fly out there, then we can celebrate our newfound connection with one another say in a very passionate, intimate way,” Chris hinted with a sultry undertone.

“As tempting as that sounds I’m not really in the mood for being passionate at the moment,” she revealed with a heavy sigh, “I wouldn’t be able to give you the satisfaction you’re seeking out tonight.”

“Hmm, well since you’re in a sour mood, maybe we’ll just have to make the most of this phone conversation. How about I start talking dirty to you right now since it’s clear that someone put you in a mood,” he suggested catching another small laugh from her, “Aha, now there’s the Angel baby that I knew and loved.”

“You’re truly amazing,” she shook her head at him, “Here we haven’t talked in what almost six years and you’re still as perverted as ever.”

“Only when it comes to you,” he informed her with a small laugh, “You know you were always my first choice and the offer for us to get married still holds true even now.”

“Chris if we got married, you know Kevin would’ve killed you,” she tossed out at him thinking about their ill-fated, yet adventurous run at romance.

“Still hanging out with that old oaf huh?” his voice shifted to heavy disapproval, “Why in the world can’t you just ditch the muscle and lose yourself to pleasure with me?”

“As tempting as that might seem, I love Kevin. He’s my best friend and no relationship is worth losing that,” Angela mouthed firmly thinking about how close she and Kevin had come to losing the bond between them. “He’s a great guy.”

“There has to be something special about him for you to be so loyal,” he paused for a moment, “So tell me did the two of you ever wind up tying the knot?”

“No, it’s not like that for Kevin and I. You know that,” she pointed out with a small sigh sliding further into her chair.

“So give me a status check here. What is it?” he asked curiously.

“Very single,” she blurted out shamefully.

“So there’s hope,” he half questioned eagerness in his tone.

“And also very pregnant,” she finished her confession knowing that she couldn’t hide from it much longer. Chris may as well be the first place to start.

“Pregnant huh? Well damn here I was hoping that maybe I’d get another shot at showing you what you’re missing out on,” he teased before pausing momentarily, “So seriously, what’s the story?”

“It’s long and complicated and one that I’d rather not get into right now. The gist of it is that I’m about to be a single mom and I wanted to check into a few things here,” she hesitated not really sure on how she should bring things up with Chris, “The truth is I wrote you because I need a favor--a big one.”

“Don’t you know by know the world is at your disposal with me Angel,” he replied in that same suave voice that she’s grown very accustomed to over the years, “Just say it and it’s yours.”

“I’m afraid it’s not going to be that easy. I need you to dig up some information that I probably was never meant to find,” she revealed with a small sigh.

“It sounds serious,” he noted her tone.

“In a way it’s very serious, but it’s something I need to know if you think you can pull a few strings to get me the news.”

“Of course I can. Granted I don’t have all of the Los Angeles resources backing me up since I’m in some little crappy town called Coral Valley at the moment,” he groaned inwardly, “You wouldn’t believe what a change it is from big city life. It’s nothing like where you and I were once upon a time.”

“Maybe not, but you aren’t the only one staying in those parts,” she revealed ponderously, “Cameron’s out there too.”

“Really?” Chris perked up with obvious interest, “And just what is brother dearest doing out in these parts?”

“No doubt getting himself into trouble in one form or another, but still I know he’s out there,” she replied thinking about her brother’s suggestion to pay him a visit.

“Hmm, well since big brother is out here getting in over his head, then maybe it means I can tempt you after all to hop a flight out here to spend some time with me. I’m sure that if you did it would make it a whole lot more enjoyable out here,” Chris tossed back at her eagerly.

“And somehow I get the feeling that would only make you too happy,” she teased back with a small chuckle.

“You say it like it’s a bad thing,” he replied bracing himself for her reaction, “So what do you say? Are you tempted?”

“Maybe,” she closed her eyes thinking about the way things had gone lately. Sure, she loved the island, but with the memory of Nick dumping her on the horizon maybe it was time for change. “Come to think of it, perhaps it’s just what I needed.”

“Really,” he replied enthusiastically.

“Sure, I mean why not,” she shrugged her shoulders pondering what it would be like to see her brother and Chris again, “I mean it could be exactly what I’ve been looking for. I could use a change of setting for a while.”

“See now there’s the spirit. Shall I put out the champagne,” Chris replied eagerly hoping to see her sooner rather than later.

“You may have to make it sparkling cider since I’m pregnant,” she reminded him with a small smile, “but as of right now it sounds like you and I have a date coming up provided you can help me with this little situation I’m dealing with.”

“You name it and it’s yours,” Chris promised ready to indulge Angela in any way imaginable if it meant he’d be able to see her once more. Things were most certainly looking up!


“So, what happened in the cafeteria that got you all dirty?” Kyle questioned leaning back against the wall, folding his arms in front of his chest. Sure, it was obvious something had gone on with someone and Sarah, but his guesses of who Sarah could have been fighting with were very slim. “I don’t think you decided to play a game of slip and slide with the food there. That is unless you have changed a lot since the last time I saw you.”

“Very funny Kyle,” Sarah rolled her eyes seeing Kyle shrug his shoulders before offering up a small smirk. “Some girl got mad at me and accused me of something. She was being stupid and I guess she felt it was the right thing to do when she dropped someone’s lunch over my head.”

“So, I take it you lost the fight?” Kyle’s eyebrows tensed as he looked her over. There was no doubt in his mind that Sarah had to have done something that really pissed this girl off, but what was it? “So, what did you do to get her this mad at you?”

“I didn’t do anything,” Sarah tried to explain seeing Kyle’s eyebrow perk up in curiosity. “She just started assuming things and tried to start something with me. That’s all.”

“Somehow, I highly doubt that,” he stated with a small frown, looking down to his watch to see how long ago he had split up with Russ.

“And why is that?” Sarah eyed Kyle over slowly, noticing the way that he seemed to be a little suspicious about what she was telling him. “Don’t you believe what I say?”

“Well, of course I do,” Kyle nodded slowly reaching his right hand up to rub the back of his tensing neck. “The only thing I wouldn’t understand is why would this woman out of no where dump food on you? Most people would have some hardcore evidence before accusing someone of something. That’s all I’m saying.”

“Well, I just think she is crazy,” Sarah declared letting out a deep sigh as she shrugged her shoulders. As much as she hated Cori and wanted to vent, it might not be a good idea to tell Kyle about everything that was going on. “I didn’t do anything to her, she’s just quick on the punch.”

“Right,” he took in what she was telling him before shaking his head slowly. There was something she obviously didn’t want to tell him because her story sounded a little weird, but most things were weird these days. “So, who was this woman? Or should I not ask that?”

“It doesn’t matter anymore,” Sarah explained, throwing her hands up in the air seeing the look that Kyle was giving her. His dark eyes never left hers, it was like he was trying to read something she wasn’t telling him. Worriedly she looked down towards the ground away from Kyle and folding her arms in front of her chest. “She won’t bother me anymore.”

“That’s a good thing to know,” Kyle pointed out with a small sigh as he watched her look up at him. He looked down at his watch one more time before letting out another small breath. “Listen, I have a little while before I have to talk to Russ. So, you want to go talk? I need to tell you something and I really don’t think it can wait.”

“Of course we can talk,” Sarah nodded quickly before seeing him nod down towards the hallway.

“I would suggest us go and get some coffee or something, but I think the food would try to attack you,” Kyle chuckled continuing to make a joke of the way she looked right now. “So, why don’t we just go in waiting area and have a chat?”

“That actually sounds perfect,” Sarah informed him with a small smile as they walked down the hallway together. She felt a little uneasy at the moment because the way Kyle had been acting around her. What was it he wanted to talk to her about?


“Listen Cori, I’m sorry,” Diego heavily sighed, shrugging his shoulders as he thought of a way to come up with an explanation to try and make things lighter on the subject. “I just don’t think we are really meant to be together. I think we were only meant and destined to be friends. And only friends.”

“How could you say something like that Diego?” Cori questioned, taking a bold step forward seeing the way that Diego’s dark glance met hers. “I told you I loved you--I did everything for you.”

“I know that Cori, but you only think you love me,” Diego offered up seeing the way the frown on Cori’s face seemed to grow. “You don’t really love me. Deep inside you know I’m not the right man for you. There is someone out there who is so much better for you Cori. You should know that.”

“I shouldn’t know nothing Diego,” Cori snapped, throwing her hands up in the air and taking a bold step closer to Diego. “I should know my true feelings. Is it Sarah that made you want to do this? Did Sarah convince you to break up with me?”

“That’s not it Cori,” Diego tried to explain watching the way Cori stepped in closer to him. “Sarah doesn’t make my decisions, I make my own decisions.”

“You make your own decisions?” Cori placed her hands in the center of Diego’s chest pushing him back over and over again, stopping to only yell at him once more. “You make your own decisions? You’re like her puppet Diego, she tells you to do something and you’re off to help her. She is holding the strings to your body and you are doing everything for her. You probably slept with her too by now knowing that she could use you for whatever she wants.”

“Cori,” Diego frowned seeing the way she looked up into his eyes. He felt her hand come across his face as he took a step back feeling the stinging sensation building up.

“You did, didn’t you?” Cori questioned, pushing him back once more only this time making him fall on top of his desk. “I will not be left for a bitch like her.”

“Cori,” Diego gasped, feeling Cori getting in over him. He felt her wrap her hands around his throat trying to cut off his air supply as he tried to get her off him, but one of his sleeves were caught on something on his desk.

“I will not be used like a toy Diego,” Cori tightened her grip on Diego, only to feel someone grab her from behind and pull her off and away from Diego. “Let go of me. I hate him. I hate him so much.”

Diego finally got his sleeve out before standing up slowly. He saw Cori struggling to get out of the person’s grip as he let out a small cough trying to get back the air he lost.

“Deana,” Diego finally called out, watching Deana trying to hold back Cori so she couldn’t attack Diego anymore. “What are you doing in here?”

“I was walking by and I heard her screaming at you, so I decided to see what was going on in here before things got too hectic,” Deana informed him, seeing the way that Diego was looking at her. She was supposed to be going in to check on a patient, but she couldn’t let Diego die from some psycho attacking him. “Do you want to call security to get her out of here?”


Don stepped into his office holding the lab report in hand. Even though he’d gone down there to do what was necessary with the computers, this print out had shell-shocked even him. There was no way that he couldn’t react to what he’d discovered. This wasn’t at all in the plan that he’d set out to do for Brant and yet…

“Hey there you are,” Hart announced walking into Don’s office to discover him seated behind his desk, “I was hoping to catch up with you. Have you seen Brant around? I mean I know he must be a nervous wreck about the paternity test and…”

“I haven’t seen him,” Don replied numbly shaking his head as he tried to process everything that had passed before him.

“Hey, what’s wrong?” Hart eyed him curiously, “Is something wrong Don? You haven’t heard anything on the paternity test yet, have you?”

“Um yeah, but…” Don found himself at a loss the papers he’d taken with him still laid out on his desk before him. He was still trying to make sense of everything, yet it was something that he couldn’t quite put to words.

“But what?” Hart eyed him curiously, “Don, what is it man?”

“I think you’d better take a look at this one,” Don motioned to the papers in front of him. Shaking his head Don rose up from his chair curling his finger at Hart. “Better yet, why don’t you walk down to the lab with me?”

“Don, are you sure you’re okay,” Hart watched his friend walk mindlessly out of his office. Halfway down the hallway Hart realized something was up when he noticed Don slip into one of the labs. Hart followed readily not really sure what was going on, “Don, talk to me. What’s up?”

“You’re never going to believe this,” Don explained motioning over for Hart to take a look at the computer monitor. “Check this out!”

“Um Don, I hate to break it to you, but um I don’t know the first thing about any of this,” Hart began seeing the results in front of him, “As far as I’m concerned this is all Chinese because I don’t have the first clue what this is telling me.”

“Just look,” Don instructed once again, “If you take a good hard look at this right here and then this, you’ll see what I see. You don’t know have to know anything about medicine to figure this one out since it’s plainly obvious. Just take a long, hard look.”

“Fine,” Hart replied grudgingly not really knowing what his friend was looking for, but he was determined to give it a try at figuring it out since Don was clearly frazzled.


“Russ what is it,” Grady repeated again seeing the horrified expression on his brother’s face, “What are you talking about?”

“Grady I remember what happened to me. I remember why I went to meet with that woman and why I wasn’t able to get back to the airport,” Russell explained hurriedly, “I was trying to get the goods on Bruce, but instead the woman started speaking with me about the people who were trying to sabotage my relationship with Avery and…”

“And what? Russ what happened?” Grady asked again feeling as if he was hitting a brick wall with his brother.

“They were trying to murder Erin. To get rid of me because…” Russell started to blurt out feeling sick to his stomach at the memory.

“There you are son,” Cheryl called out to him seeing her son before her, “I’ve been looking all over for you and…”

“Mom,” Russ sprung up from where he’d been seated his mind racing with possibilities about everything that had been happening. While he hadn’t had clarity up until now everything was becoming shockingly clear to him and it scared the hell out of him.

“Have you heard anything more on Avery,” Cheryl asked looking between her two sons. Seeing the horrified expression on Russell’s face she reached out for him, “Son what’s wrong?”

“Mom, I have to get in there. I have to go be with Avery,” Russ tried to keep his voice cool and even despite the fire raging inside of him. “Where’s dad?”

“He’s in the nursery with Erin where I just was before I decided to look for you and,” she eyed him wearily, “Russ, what’s wrong? Did something happen?”

“More than you can imagine mom,” Russ nodded his body growing rigid with the inner turmoil he was finding himself met with, “I need to be with Avery and…”

“I know you do honey, but…” Cheryl threw a pleading look out at her oldest son.

“I think I’m going to go find dad,” Grady nodded understanding what Cheryl was trying to say to him. He rushed off hoping to find his father so that Elliot could say something to help ease the upset Russ was experiencing now that Brant had prevented him from seeing Avery.

“Son, I’m sure that you will be able to get in there soon,” Cheryl tried to reason with him feeling him tense up underneath her touch.

“No mom, you’re not getting it. No one is getting it,” he threw his hands up in the air frustration overtaking him, “The Ashfords aren’t going to stop until I’m eliminated from Avery’s life. They’re evil each and every one of them. That’s what this was always about--that’s why this all happened…”

“Russ, you’re not making any sense. I know that Brant’s been giving you a hard time, but it’s in part because he’s lived all these months with Avery as his wife. He’s attached to her and he thinks he’s doing the right thing, but he’s wrong. We all know that and sooner or later he will too,” she tried to appeal to him seeing how worked up he was getting.

“No mom he’s not going to get it. None of them will ever get it because none of them ever planned on me coming back. They wanted me to disappear. They wanted me to be gone from Avery’s life forever except I didn’t die. I didn’t fade away like they were hoping. What Avery and I have is too strong. They know that a love like ours wouldn’t end until I was gone,” Russ continued frantically, “They all knew that only in death would that bond between us be severed which is why they did this to me.”

“Russ, I don’t understand,” Cheryl replied finding herself at a loss.

“I know you don’t mom, but I do which is why I have to stop this. I can’t let the Ashfords win. I can’t let that son of a bitch keep me from my wife,” Russell replied firmly ready to do whatever was necessary to get Avery back again.

“Russ honey you need to calm down. I don’t know what’s going on, but…” Cheryl began again.

“Mom the Ashfords are evil. They’re manipulative and they try to destroy everything out there that’s good that they can’t control. Grady was right when he said that nothing positive ever came out of that family and if I don’t find a way to see Avery right now I can guarantee that they’ll find a way to keep me from her. I can’t wait any longer. I’ve already lost too much time with her already because of the lies and manipulations. I can’t lose her,” Russ blurted out rushing off to see Avery regardless of whatever it was Brant was going to throw out at him.

“Russ wait,” Cheryl took a step towards him realizing it was too late. Her son was already on his way to take on the Ashfords starting with Brant and it was in that moment that Cheryl feared that something horrible was going to happen--something that could never be taken back ever again!


Ria tucked her phone in her pocket and smiled thinking about the amazing phone call she had with Kevin. Just hearing his voice again worked wonders over her now that she found herself missing him like crazy. She couldn’t wait to have him back in Coral Valley again and hopefully soon that dream would become a reality for her. She stepped into the restaurant feeling a renewed enthusiasm for the day ahead of her.

Of course now that she’d talked to Kevin, she couldn’t wait to go back home, but that would mean cutting out on breakfast. Looking over at Blake and Seth she wondered if she could just skip out as easily as she’d been hoping for. She cleared her throat uneasily before approaching the table.

“Hey guys,” Ria slid into the booth and fidgeted with her fingers trying not to come off as nervous, “Um you know as much as I’d like to stay and chat, that was the hospital and…”

“You’re so lying,” Seth frowned catching the truth behind her eyes. “Let me guess your boy toy called you and you’re running off to spend some time with him since he needs a booty call, right?”

“It’s not like that,” Ria replied defensively, “I have to go to work and…”

“Right Ria. What is he married or something? I mean really what kind of guy has you meeting up with him at a shady hotel and won’t meet your friends?” he continued to lecture her.

“Seth, look I’m not dating that guy anymore. I’m seeing someone else and…” Ria began uneasily.

“If that’s the case, then why don’t you call him back and have him join us here for breakfast?” he suggested with a scrutinizing brow.

“Seth, it’s really not our place to…” Blake began again.

“To what? To want to see this guy who Ria is dating? I think it’s perfectly normal for friends to share their significant other with their friends. I mean when you and I started seeing one another, I didn’t want to hide you from everyone. There would be no reason to unless of course Ria has a reason to be keeping it secret…”

“Seth it really isn’t any of our business and…” Blake tried to get him to let up on his questioning, but he as on a roll.

“Ria, you know if this guy can’t stand up and show us who he is, then what does that tell you about him? I mean really what kind of guy can’t just admit that he’s in love with you to your friends and your family? What a jerk!” Seth huffed in response worried about the man his friend was seeing.

“Trust me Seth. He’s a great guy. I know you’d like him,” Ria offered up hating to lie to her friend.

“I seriously doubt it considering that he’s not willing to give us a chance which speaks volumes about your relationship Ria,” Seth frowned again. “If this jackass can’t even be bothered to meet your friends, then where do you see this one headed?”

“Look Seth one day you’ll understand, but…” Ria began again. “really you don’t know how it is.”

“Make me understand how it is because from what I see you’re dating a very self-centered, controlling jerk that…”

“Oh I give up,” Ria threw her hands in the air, “Seth you’re a moron. If you really need to know, then..”

“You’re right he is acting like a moron right now,” Valerie’s voice interrupted the three of them, “Simply because he’s here with Blake and not me when I’m his wife.”

“Oh great. Just when the day was looking up,” Blake groaned inwardly shaking her head at Valerie. “Don’t you have a life?”

“I do and I’ll continue to have one once you leave my husband alone,” Valerie’s eyes narrowed down at Blake. “Whether you like it or not he’s married to me.”

“Only because some idiot didn’t file the papers right to end it,” Seth added with a huff.

“Oh face it Seth. You’re still in love with me even if you’re in denial right now,” Valerie batted her eyelashes at him even further.

“You’re the queen of denial Valerie,” Ria stood up reaching for her purse, “and with that thought in mind, I think it’s time to bring this to an end.”

“What’s wrong Ria? Afraid to tell Seth that you know I’m right? That you think he belongs with me as well?” Valerie added with a bright grin, “I mean you know you’re pulling for him to get back together with me. Admit it.”

“Valerie just back off. Go do something or get a hobby,” Ria warned her ready to move away when Valerie stepped forward pleadingly.

“Seth baby you know we belong together. You have loved me from day one and…” her words were stopped by Ria letting out a long groan.

“Oh hell,” Ria moaned turning around and shoving Valerie away from the table. With one small push she sent Valerie down to the ground a few feet away. “Just shut up!”

“Ria I…” Valerie looked up at her with stunned eyes.

“Look I’m leaving and if you’re smart you’ll do the same,” Ria mouthed giving Seth and Blake one last look before leaving the restaurant ready to discover just what surprise Kevin had waiting for her. Right now that was all she wanted to focus on rather than dealing with Seth’s questions and Valerie’s stupidity. Yes, that was a good way to start the day indeed.


Kevin knocked on Angela’s front door thinking about how much better he’d felt after he talked to Ria. While he knew full well that Angela couldn’t experience that same kind of thrill since her last man of the moment turned out to be a dud, Kevin decided he’d still try to perk her up. Remembering the last time they’d kicked back and watched a movie with one another, Kevin had picked up some popcorn and decided that tonight would be another one of those nights where they were able to sit back and relax a bit. He knocked on the door once more before finally reaching for the knob and letting himself in. As expected she’d left the front door unlocked.

“When are you ever going to learn,” he shook his head thinking about how his pal was clearly walking around with her head in the clouds even now after Nick had been gone a little while. How he was ever going to bring common sense back to her was beyond him, but he vowed to find a way to make it happen.

Walking through her living room he noticed that the television was on, but Angela was no where in sight. Frowning he heard a sound from her bedroom and he let out a small groan.

“Please don’t let her be crying again,” he tilted his eyes upward to the heavens thinking about how impossible it was when Angela was crying. That always did him in, “I can take just about anything, but crying.”

Sighing heavily he started towards her bedroom hearing the sounds of her shuffling from the other side of the half opened door. He paused for a moment preparing himself for the best friend talk in the hopes of cheering her up, but when he caught a glimpse of her moving around the room busily he realized that she must not be anywhere near crying. He pushed open the door to see his suspicions confirmed. She was packing some clothing into a suitcase eagerly.

“Hey, what’s going on?” Kevin couldn’t help but ask causing her to stop from the middle of her obvious packing spree.

“I’m getting ready to take a trip,” she explained with a simple shrug of her shoulders returning to the suitcase in front of her, “Tell me something is the weather warm or cold right now back in the real world?”

“It’s kind of in between,” Kevin shrugged his shoulders before returning to the moment, “Why do you ask?”

“Because I’ve decided that maybe it’s time for me to visit the real world for a little while,” she stated matter of fact before pulling a few things out of her top drawer, “Cameron’s asked me to take a little trip out to see him for a while. He’d invited me to Coral Valley to spend some time with him and I think I’m going to take him up on that offer.”

“No,” Kevin blurted out worriedly.

“What?” she questioned ceasing her packing to look up at him with a confused expression, “What do you mean no Kevin?”

“You can’t go to Coral Valley,” he insisted taking a step towards her. “It’s out of the question.”

“Of course it’s not out of the question Kevin,” she pulled back her sweater feeling him try to snatch it from her hands, “I haven’t seen Cameron in forever and I think it’s a great idea for me to visit him considering that…”

“No Angie you’re not getting it,” he shook his head at her his brown eyes now more determined than ever, “You’re not going to Coral Valley. Not now, not ever!”


“Alright, so what was it you wanted to talk about Kyle?” Sarah questioned, watching him take in a deep breath as he leaned forward in the chair he was sitting in. “What’s on your mind?”

“I just need to get a few things off my chest,” Kyle explained, leaning forward resting his elbows on his knees as he looked over at her. “You see, when I started fighting with Bruce my whole life was at risk. I could just feel everything building up inside of me, that fear that made me think it might have been my last ten minutes in this world.”

“That must have been a bad feeling to have,” Sarah pointed out seeing him nod slowly. “I know I wouldn’t want to ever have that feeling.”

“You won’t have to,” Kyle promised her with a small sigh as he leaned forward even more in his seat to try and continue on with what he was trying to tell her. “Sarah, I was at that cabin and so many great things happened at that cabin and it made me really open my eyes at how I should look at things these days. If you look at it, I killed a man Sarah. I was the one that killed Bruce.”

“You both were fighting for the gun Kyle, it just went off,” Sarah restated the fact as Kyle nodded slowly. “Is that what’s bothering you?”

“No, far from it. If Bruce would have lived, he would have killed the people I loved most in this world. I would never want that,” Kyle quickly got out, knowing he didn’t regret what happened to Bruce. “It’s just everything that happened. I almost died and the fact that I am still here is something I am very thankful for.”

“The same thing goes for me,” Sarah reached out to place her hand on his leg gently as he looked down to her hand. “I don’t know what I would have done without you.”

“Well, I’m still here,” Kyle sighed standing up from his seat as he looked down at her. He folded his arms in front of his chest, taking a step back as he thought about something to say. “But I delivered a baby Sarah. Do you know what that feels like? It feels amazing to be a person in that position. And to further the point, Erin was named after me and Grady. Erin Leigh Denton. I lived up to what I was meant to do in this world. I was here to save someone. I know that everything happens for a reason and I realize now my reason was to be here and save the people that meant the most to me. If I would have lost them--I don’t know what I would have done. It gets you thinking, you know. If I would have died saving them--I would have died knowing that I did something good, something right. I would have died knowing that I fulfilled why I was put on this world. I would have known that Erin Leigh would have been safe with her mother and her father. That’s all I would want. Now that I’m still here after everything that has happened, it tells me one thing.”

“And what’s that?” Sarah questioned curiously seeing the way he shrugged his shoulders trying to think of somehow to explain how he was feeling.

“It tells me that I am still here for a reason,” Kyle explained holding his hands up in the air, “that I still need to settle things in my life and that I need to take a stand. I need to take a stand and change things. I need to make things better.”

“How are you going to do that?” Sarah pondered his answers in her mind, wondering exactly what he was thinking of.

“Well, my life was all twisted when the two of us broke up. I thought my world was going to end, but again I know now that everything happens for a reason. When you said…” Kyle paused for a minute, remembering the words she said about his child not long ago. “When you said something, I never wanted to see you again. I never wanted to talk to you--I never wanted you to know the pain I was feeling.”

“Kyle, I told you I was sorry about that,” Sarah stood up from her seat seeing the way that he nodded slowly. “I’m so sorry that happened and I wish I could take everything I said back.”

“Right, which is why I think we should start things over,” Kyle started letting out a deep breath as he looked down at her, “I think we should…”

“I totally agree with you Kyle,” Sarah smiled quickly leaning forward and wrapping her arms around him to pull him into an embrace.

“You do?” Kyle eyed her over slowly seeing the way that Sarah nodded slowly. “So you agree that you think we should be just…”

“I think we should get back together and start our whole relationship over,” Sarah replied leaning up to kiss Kyle on the lips as he pulled away from her gently. “I couldn’t think of a better idea.”

“Wait, I meant we should only,” Kyle tried to explain, seeing the way her dark eyes looked into his. He was going to say just friends, but now that her eyes were looking up at him like that--he didn’t know how he was going to reply to that.


“Now would be the perfect time to answer,” Deana frowned still trying to hold Cori in her grasp, but Cori was struggling even more by the second. “Do you want me to get security in here.”

“Just let her go,” Diego frowned seeing the way that Deana looked up at him. Deana must have thought he was crazy for saying something like that, considering Diego might be her target again. “There is no need for security, just let her go.”

“Fine, but it might lead to your funeral,” Deana shrugged letting go of Cori as Cori stood up straight before turning around to look at Deana. “What?”

“Nothing,” Cori shook her head, turning her attention back towards to Diego as he stepped in closer to her. “I can’t believe you would sink this low Diego. I thought you were a good guy. I thought you were someone I could always trust.”

“You can trust me Cori, I just don’t think we should date,” he tried to explain to her once more seeing the way the anger built up behind her eyes. “Cori, I just think we are meant to be friends. Friends and only friends. I’m sorry I hurt you, but someday you will understand why this happened.”

“Some day my ass,” Cori rolled her eyes, poking Diego in the chest roughly as he grabbed her hand in his. “I only have one thing to say to you Diego. Something very important.”

“And what might that be?” Diego eyed Cori over slowly, feeling her hand reach up to touch the side of his face gently.

“This,” she scowled, bringing her knee up into Diego’s groin watching him fall to the ground with the blow. “You think you are so special, but what you don’t understand is that you’re nothing. You’re absolutely nothing.”

“Cori,” Diego tried to say something, but felt his voice a bit raspy as he let out a small groan.

“Screw you Diego,” Cori rolled her eyes before walking over towards the door. She looked over at Deana who was looking down at Diego. “And a little information for you--don’t ever go for him, he sucks in bed. He brings the word minute man to a whole new level.”

“I never planned on going after him,” Deana chuckled, placing her hand in front of her mouth trying not to laugh as she saw Cori leave and shut the door behind her.

Diego was trying to get up off the ground as he saw Deana take a step in closer to him. He looked up at her before letting out another small groan.

“Well, this day seems to be turning out to be more interesting by the minute,” Deana declared letting out a small smirk before shrugging her shoulders. “That looks like it hurt--do you want me to get you some ice or something?”


“Where is he?” Elliot questioned finding Cheryl waiting for him in the waiting room area, “Where’s Russ?”

“I don’t know,” she admitted worry pressing in over her features, “I was just talking to him, but then he took off in a fury. He’s upset about what Brant’s doing and…”

“Can you blame him?” Elliot questioned with a frown, “He damn near lost his life, but now he’s home again and once again the Ashfords are coming in and trying to ruin it for one of us.”

“Elliot, I really don’t think that…” Cheryl started finding herself at a loss as she remembered her son’s overwhelming anger where the Ashford family was concerned.

“Face it Cheryl one of them has been waiting a long time to pull something like this,” Elliot threw his hands up in the air, his frustrations mounting, “It’s not enough that they own half of this town, but they feel the need to seek out and destroy anyone who doesn’t think like them--anyone who wants a life for themselves.”

“I don’t think that has anything to do with what’s happening here. Brant’s just upset because he’s been there for Avery all this time and…” Cheryl started to explain uneasily.

“Oh don’t you even go there,” Elliot warned with a heavy look of disapproval, “Don’t you even dare defend that spoiled brat now that he’s making Russell’s life a living hell.”

“I’m not trying to defend him, but merely I’m trying to get everyone to see that there are a lot of emotions running high right about now and…” Cheryl trailed off lost inside of herself especially now after this situation rang so close to home for her. “Elliot, you didn’t see Russ. He was so angry and…”

“Can you blame him?” Elliot eyed her as if she’d said something beyond the realm of possibility. “He’s come home to discover that an Ashford has moved in on his wife. That’s enough to make any man go over the edge. You and I know full well that something like that is bound to…”

“Elliot stop!” Cheryl cut him off abruptly, “I don’t need you to start damning all of the Ashfords considering that…”

“That what Cheryl? That Brant is just like his father in the sense that he can’t accept when something is off limits to him? That he can’t just back off and leave well enough alone?” Elliot’s voice rose with anger, “I’ve sat back for far too long watching that family work it’s way into everyone else’s life and manipulate. Brant’s no different than Nicholas in his ways and if you weren’t feeling so sympathetic to the enemy than you’d see that all Ashfords are one in the same.”

“We both know that’s not true Elliot,” she blurted out her voice shaking with emotion, “They all aren’t…”

“Yes they are. They most certainly are and I’m not about to change my mind about that,” he frowned down at her, “Even after all of these years I would’ve imagined that you’d finally see them for what they are--for what they’ve done to everyone that they’ve come into contact with…”

“Elliot I understand how you feel, but with Russ you and I both know that…” Cheryl started uneasily her thoughts returning to her youngest son.

“Don’t you say it,” Elliot warned seeing that old familiar look behind her eyes, “Don’t you dare say it!”

“Elliot, it’s just before you start slinging around thoughts like that, I really believe that you should just…” Cheryl started again fighting with her own turmoil emotions.

“Cheryl, I don’t want to hear you even mention it. I know where this is going and I won’t stand here and let you say it,” he warned her sharply, his eyes flickering with tension and anger, “You said that you wouldn’t ever say it again. We both agreed about that and we’re not going to. Right now this is the last thing Russ needs and…”

“I know Elliot, but given how much hatred he has right now…” Cheryl revealed worried about her son’s fury. “If he goes and does something stupid like Grady did with Cameron not so long ago…”

“Cameron was asking for it just like Brant is and if Russ decks him, then good for him,” Elliot mouthed a darkness building behind his features, “I wouldn’t expect anything less from our son. Russ has a right to fight for his family.”

“I understand that Elliot, but if you think about this--really think about this, then you and I both know what’s at stake here. We know what could happen if…” she trailed off fighting the tears that threatened to overtake her.

“This is about Russ reclaiming his family and I swear to you Cheryl that this time I’m not going to sit idle and let that family cause problems for us. I’m not going to let Brant finish what Nicholas started all those years ago. Do you hear me? I’m not about to let the Ashfords ruin our son and you’d better make damn sure that you don’t either.”

“Elliot, I’m not trying to, but you and I both know that…” she began again finding herself more flustered by the moment.

“Russ is right here Cheryl. He isn’t doing anything less than what I would’ve done--what I would do if I was in his shoes and regardless of how angry he is, this is what’s best for him--what’s best for all of us,” Elliot pleaded with her, “We can’t let them win all over again Cheryl.”

“This isn’t about winning Elliot. This is about Russ--about our son and if he goes on feeling this hatred for Brant, then…” she started knowing full well that she was about to open a door that she’d vowed to herself that she’d never ever open again. However with Brant and Russ going head to head with one another, she knew that it was inevitable.

“Then nothing. I’m going to fully support our son. I’m not about to let him lose everything that’s ever mattered to him simply because you have a soft spot for Brant and his kind. Brant might’ve been there for Avery while Russ was gone, but you and I both know it never should’ve happened. It still shouldn’t be happening and now that Russ is home again I’m going to make damn sure that our son doesn’t have to experience the kind of pain that I’ve known. He’s not going to let that man steal his wife from him. As long as I’m around it’s not going to happen,” Elliot finished with a small shudder, “I’m going to look for Russ.”

“Elliot wait,” she reached for his arm in an attempt to stop him, “I’m not trying to fight with you about this, but…”

“But nothing. Russ needs us right now and if we are really going to help him, then we have to be behind him one hundred percent Cheryl. He needs us to give him all the help in the world if he’s ever going to stand a chance at being with Avery and Erin. We owe him that much and even if you’re feeling uneasy about the situation, we can’t let him lose his family.”

“I know that Elliot, but listen to yourself--to the way you’re carrying on about this. It’s like this isn’t about Russ anymore. It’s like it’s never been about Russ, but rather it’s about us…” she paused seeing the way he looked at her as if he’d been scalded by her words.

“Maybe in a way it is. After all since the day this all started with the Ashfords it’s always been about us. Us and them,” Elliot replied giving her one last look before chasing off after Russ in the hopes of helping him from losing the things that mattered most in his life all over again.


“Okay Don, I give up,” Hart looked over his shoulder at his pal, “I’m just not getting it. I mean what is it you want me to see here?”

“Can’t you see how close they are,” Don nodded again at the test results that Hart was staring at, “They are really, really close there…”

“Okay so maybe it does look similar, but…” Hart paused his eyes widening as he looked to Don curiously, “Wait a second does this mean what I think it is? Does this mean that Brant really is Erin’s father here?”

“Not exactly,” Don paused not sure how to put things into perspective as he looked at the screen in front of him.

“Okay, you’ve lost me here,” Hart eyed him suspiciously, “What gives on this one?”

“Well, this sample belongs to Brant and this one…” Don shook his head adamantly, “It doesn’t matter. The point to all of this is that in a matter of moments there won’t be any questioning or any doubt because with a couple quick clicks here on the computer and a little tweaking there won’t be any doubt to the fact that Brant will be Erin’s father which really won’t be too hard to pull off considering that…”

“That if you even think about touching that keyboard Don, you’ll be a dead man,” a voice rose up from the back of the lab causing both Don and Hart to jump at the sound. Don spun around seeing Shannon standing at the door glaring at him with suspicious eyes.

“Shannon I um…” Don stammered holding his index finger over the keyboard ready to deliver the final test results.

“As I said before Don,” she took another step forward glaring at her husband, “If you even think about tampering with that DNA test, you’re as good as dead to me.”


...to be continued...