Episode 276

“What’s wrong with you Kevin?” Angela questioned looking Kevin over suspiciously, watching as he set the popcorn down on her dresser. “Why are you acting like this?”

“I’m not acting a specific way and nothing is wrong with me,” Kevin answered with a small shake of his head, taking a step in closer to Angela. “Angie, you can’t go to Coral Valley. You’re setting yourself up for…”

“For what?” Angela eyed Kevin over for a moment, seeing him stuck on what to say to her. “Why are you so determined on not letting me go to Coral Valley Kevin?”

“Do you not realize how stupid that would be?” Kevin muttered throwing his hands up in the air as he stepped in right before her. There were so many things wrong with Coral Valley, hurt that would obviously approach her if she ran into some kind of trouble. An obvious trouble named Russell or should he say Nick? “You aren’t…you aren’t safe in Coral Valley Angie.”

“How am I not safe Kevin?” she folded her arms out in front of her chest seeing Kevin look down towards the ground. “I really don’t see how you think I’m not safe.”

“There are a lot of things in Coral Valley you don’t need to be around,” Kevin explained grabbing her hand in his and leading her towards the bed to sit down next to him. “Just let me talk to you for a minute and you’ll know why.”

“Kevin please,” Angela stood up from the bed, feeling Kevin pull on her hand and make her sit back down on the bed. “Kevin, I am going to pack and I am going to go to Coral Valley. You can’t stop me.”

“Sit down,” he ordered feeling her get up again before he pulled her back down into his lap. “You need to listen to me before you even think about going Angie. If you ever want to take my advice on something, take it now.”

“Fine Kevin, talk,” Angela shrugged, trying to get out of his grasp as he still held onto her tightly. “What? Am I a little girl or something?”

“No, but sometimes you act like it because I know if I say something you don’t like, you will try to get up and not listen to me,” he pointed out with a small shake of his head. He felt her loosen up in his arms, letting out a small sigh. “And you realize I’m right.”

“Make this fast Kevin, I don’t have very long,” Angela informed him with a small sigh as he kept his grip on her for a moment. “Come on, what’s your excuse now.”

“It’s more along the truth,” Kevin gulped thinking of something to come up with before letting out a small frown. Sure, he wanted to tell her that she could possibly run into Nick, but that would ruin her if she even stepped in the same room Nick was in. Kevin looked down between them, removing his right hand from hers as he slid his hand over her stomach gently. “Well, first things first. Does Cameron know about the babies? Because last time I remember you told me you weren’t going to tell him until a lot later.”

“Oh,” Angela frowned placing her hand over Kevin’s as his eyes met hers. He scooted back on the bed, bringing her with him as she thought about what he said. “I haven’t told him yet.”

“Right,” Kevin nodded slowly, his eyebrows tensed as he saw her think things over. “Do you really think this is way he should find out about you being pregnant? I mean, do you really think this is the way to approach things?”

“Maybe not,” Angela shrugged seeing the way that Kevin nodded slowly. “Okay, so you have a point about something…”

“But nothing Angie, you know it’s not a good idea,” he pointed out with a small frown, feeling her wrap her arms around his neck lightly as she turned more to face him. “You know as well as I know that Cameron could get a bad temper some times.”

“I know Kevin,” Angela frowned, feeling him loosen his grip on her. “I just don’t know if I can avoid the fact much further.”

“Well, you really have to think about it,” Kevin frowned reaching his right hand up to caress her cheek gently with his thumb. “I know you think it might be a good idea, but is it really? I think you have been through enough worry, you don’t need Cameron adding to it.”

Angela shrugged her shoulders, feeling Kevin gently move her out of his arms before getting up off the bed.

“I have to do something real quick,” Kevin stated with a deep sigh, looking down at his watch, “but I will be back. Think about it while I’m gone.”

“Okay, I will,” Angela promised falling back against the bed as she heard Kevin leave the room. Maybe Kevin was right, Cameron might not be able to take the news that well.


Brant walked down the hallway leading to Avery’s hospital room knowing that while he had a lot on his mind, nothing would give him more focus than being with Avery. If she could see why he was doing this, then she would understand. She would see that he wasn’t trying to hurt her, but merely that he was just protecting what they had with one another. He knew in his heart that he was exactly what Avery and Erin needed and nothing was going to change that belief for him. He just had to make sure that she understood why he was doing all of this.

“Brant Ashford,” Cheryl Denton called out to him stopping him dead in his tracks, “I’d like to have a word with you.”

“I’m afraid I don’t have the time right now,” Brant tried to step aside hoping to avoid some kind of conflict with her over what he was certain she had to talk to him about, “Let’s just do us both a favor and pretend we didn’t run into one another.”

“Brant, I know you’re not an evil man,” Cheryl tried to appeal to him, “I know that in your heart you think you’re doing the right thing, but trying to get between Russ and Avery isn’t the answer. I’m well aware that you care for her, but she needs to be with Russ and Erin.”

“What my wife needs is to pull through this ordeal that happened to her. That’s my top priority at this moment in time,” Brant replied stiffly trying not to lose his temper with her. “Cheryl, if you’ll excuse me…”

“No Brant,” she reached for his arm preventing him from walking away, “I’m not going to excuse you doing something that you’ll live to regret. No one is saying that you don’t love Avery because I’m sure that you do, but if you look inside your heart you’ll see that she and Russ…”

“That they what?” Brant finally snapped back at her, “That they belong together because they have a history? Well, guess what Cheryl she and I have a history too. Avery loves me as well and even though this town is overlooking that fact, the truth to the matter is that she’s my wife, not his and she does love me. I realize that no one wants to believe that a woman like Avery could fall in love with a man like me, but she has. Despite the fact that you all believe being around an Ashford is a sin, she has opened her heart to me and we found something special with one another. I didn’t manipulate her or lie to her to make that happen. We fell in love with one another simply because it was something we both wanted.”

“But that was before Russ came home. She and Russ have been in love for years and they share a child with one another,” Cheryl watched him closely taking in a small breath, “I’m not saying that she doesn’t love you as well because I’m sure that she cares for you, but Brant think about what’s best for Avery. Think about what is right for her and Erin. If you look deep inside your heart you’ll see that the only right answer is in your letting her go. You need to give her the opportunity to have the life that she always dreamt of.”

“She has the life she’s always dreamt of with me,” Brant shook his head at her struggling to keep from saying anything he might regret later on, “You know I’m not a bad guy. I love Avery and she’s my wife. She’s all that matters to me and right now I just want to be with her. I need to be with her, so if you’ll excuse me…”

“Brant,” Cheryl watched him go down the hallway leaving her to wonder what would happen next considering that life as everyone in Coral Valley knew it was about to change in more ways than anyone could ever imagine.


“Thank God we were able to get in here,” Grady glanced out the door of Avery’s hospital room while Russ moved in over to the side of the bed. “I’m surprised Ashford didn’t have a guard on the door waiting to toss us out.”

“Even if he had a guard here it wouldn’t stop me,” Russ vowed dropping down to sit beside Avery. He reached for her hand lifting it to his lips and kissing it tenderly, “Nothing would ever stop me from being with you again beautiful. After everything we’ve been through to get to this point I promise you that I’m not going to let someone’s manipulations tear us apart. We have too much together to not keep fighting for it.”

“Brant’s not going to win this one Russ,” Grady spun around to see his brother beside Avery, “Anyone who tries to get between you and Avery is bound to lose.”

“But that doesn’t mean that they’re going to stop trying,” Russ touched her face gently thinking about the grizzly discovery he’d just made about the forces that had been working against them, “They tried to kill me--to take me away from you, but I swear to you as God as my witness Avery no one is ever going to keep me away from you again. I know that we were apart all this time, but I was always bound to you--we were always meant to find our way to one another. Now that we have Erin, we’re going to have everything we’ve ever dreamt about.”

“Brant’s not going to get in the way of that,” Grady offered up reassuringly, “Despite his protests, his hold on Avery isn’t that strong. They might be married, but their relationship was on thin ice before you came back to town.”

“I don’t doubt that Avery wants to be with me, but with the Ashfords,” Russ gritted his teeth glancing up at his brother, “You have no idea what lengths they’ll go to keep what they believe belongs to them.”

“Of course I do,” Grady reminded him with a heavy sigh, “Nicholas Ashford raped Jade. Remember?”

“How could I forget that man’s crimes,” Russ let out a small shudder closing his eyes for a brief moment.

“He’s lucky he’s dead because if he wasn’t, I would’ve killed him myself,” Grady continued thinking about how Jade’s young life was torn to piece by that monster.

“Grady about that,” Russ began uneasily knowing that he couldn’t hide from the truth any longer. He opened his mouth to speak when he heard a sound at the door. Immediately Grady sprung forward ready to lunge at one of Brant’s hired help, but it was Elliot instead.

“I thought I might find you in here son,” Elliot spoke up seeing Russ at Avery’s side, “Your mother said that you were upset and she was worried about you.”

“I can’t let them keep Avery away from me dad,” Russ explained with an impassioned tone, “They’ve already done it for far too long.”

“It’s not going to happen anymore son,” Elliot stepped in towards him, “I don’t care who I have to pull strings with around here, but I promise you that Brant Ashford won’t be able to get rid of you. What Avery needs more than anything is you and he’s not going to take you away from her.”

“No he’s not,” Grady added a thought occurring to him, “In fact, I think I’m going to get some insurance to see to it that it doesn’t happen.”

“Grady I…” Russ called out to his brother watching him leave the room. He eyed Elliot worriedly, “Where is he going?”

“I don’t know son, but now that we’re alone, I think maybe it’s time you and I have a talk with one another. There are things that we need to discuss. Things that simply cannot wait any longer,” Elliot explained taking in a long, slow breath as he prepared to lay out the truth for his son in ways that he never imagined possible.


“I don’t understand why you are having me get dressed up,” Kipp frowned, buttoning up the rest of his shirt. “I would like to know where we are going so I know if I am dressed appropriately or not. Just saying dress up doesn’t give me really enough information.”

“Of course it does honey,” Kellen yelled out from the bathroom before coming into the bedroom. He walked over to the bed to grab his white dress shirt he had set out for himself. “Dress up means, dress up. You see how I am going to dress up, so just follow my lead.”

“Yeah, but that’s the point,” Kipp turned around walking over towards Kellen as pulled his shirt up his arms. Kipp reached out to button up Kellen’s shirt slowly before leaning forward to place a small kiss over Kellen’s lips. “You look good in absolutely everything Kellen.”

“And do you babe,” Kellen winked letting out a small smile as he slid his hand up and over Kipp’s shoulder. “Don’t worry, you look perfect. Absolutely perfect.”

“Somehow, I highly doubt that,” Kipp chuckled, watching Kellen walk over towards the dresser to grab his watch. “But thanks for the effort.”

“Effort?” Kellen laughed, looking back at Kipp before shaking his head slowly. “Honey, you are a hunk. An adorable and yummy looking hunk. You should know that by now.”

“Only you could say such a thing,” Kipp smirked hearing the doorbell ring as he let out a small frown.

“There is the babysitter,” Kellen smiled rubbing his hands together as he looked around the room before finding a sheet of papers. “Follow me.”

“Are you sure this is such a good idea Kellen?” Kipp groaned following Kellen through the room and towards the front door. “I mean, I don’t know this girl and how do you know if she is a good babysitter? I don’t know if I am willing to leave Charles.”

“Don’t worry, she is my little buddy,” Kellen promised grabbing the handle of the door and pulling the door open. Kellen took a look back at Kipp before motioning the young girl to come inside. “Kipp, this is Lindsay Leveski.”

“It’s nice to meet you Lindsay. Where have I heard that before? Leveski?” Kipp questioned after shaking Lindsay’s hand gently feeling Kellen rest his hand on Kipp’s shoulder.

“Rob Leveski,” Kellen answered with a small grin as he looked forward at Lindsay. “I work for her father at the gym and I really got to know her. She’s pretty cool you know.”

“You’re not too bad yourself Kel,” Lindsay smiled shrugging her shoulders as Kellen motioned her to walk into the room even more.

“These are all the numbers if you need anything, just call one of us,” Kellen handed Lindsay the paper before pointing back towards Charles’s bedroom. “Charles is taking a nap and when he wakes up just feed him again. He’s a good baby, he will be really good with you.”

“Okay, I’m sure everything is going to be perfectly fine. I love babies,” Lindsay informed Kipp with an assuring nod, “And if your worried, you can call and check in on Charles anytime Mr. Mahoney. But I promise you everything will be okay.”

“Alright, but be very careful with him,” Kipp uneasily smiled before feeling Kellen tug on his hand gently and pull him over towards the door. “We’ll be back later.”

“Come on,” Kellen whispered in Kipp’s ear before looking back at Lindsay. “We won’t be back very late.”


“What the hell do you think you’re doing?” Shannon demanded marching in towards Don with a fire burning behind her eyes, “Please don’t tell me that you’re not about to do what I think you’re about to do.”

“Shannon I…” Don started finding himself at a loss. He glanced over at Hart worriedly, “I um…”

“Yeah that’s what I thought,” Shannon waved her hand around in the air. She motioned towards Hart, “The fact that he’s here with you only means that you’re about to do something that could put your whole life in jeopardy and I’m willing to take it a step further and guess that Brant is playing a hand in all of this.”

“Shannon it’s not what it looks like and you know you really shouldn’t be in here right now,” Don stammered doing his best to keep from showing his wife what was really going on. He took a step towards her in the hopes of shooing her out of the lab.

“He’s right. This is for hospital personnel only and the last time I checked you were very far from working here at the hospital,” Hart stated matter of fact stepping in front of the computer. He watched Don reach out to Shannon only to see her elbow him in the ribs. Quickly Hart scooped up the papers holding them as if his life depended on it.

“Let me see those!” Shannon held her hand out towards Hart, “Now.”

“Hey, he’s your husband and if you want to slap him around, well you’re well within your rights if he wants to let you do it, but with me,” Hart clenched the papers tighter, “This is none of your business. This has absolutely nothing to do with you.”

“And nothing to do with you I’m sure as well,” she reached for the papers feeling him pull them out of her reach.

“Shannon don’t!” Don coughed moving forward to press his arms around her waist, “You really don’t want to be in here. There’s nothing all that exciting going on and…”

“And you’re so full of it,” Shannon felt him try to pull her into an embrace, “If nothing else Don Leveski, lying has never been your strong suit. If I were to lay odds here, I would say that you two are about to get into a whole world of trouble for Brant Ashford given that he’s all about bending the rules especially when his future is on the line.”

“You couldn’t be any further from the truth if you tried,” Hart quipped in response, “Don and I were just talking and…”

“And you’re both lying,” Shannon elbowed Don again before reaching out to Hart. She felt him slip out of her reach before she brought her knee up and hit him in the groin. Yep, that did the trick, she thought to herself seeing him buckle forward.

“What the hell did you do that for?” Hart cried out in agony trying to recover from her blunt attack on him. He felt the papers fall from his hands and before he could nab them back Shannon had them.

“How about I just take a look at these and see what kind of trouble you and my husband aren’t getting into with one another?” she suggested hearing Don moving in from behind her.

“Shannon don’t,” Don pleaded reaching out to her, but it was too late. Her eyes already fell upon the pages she held in her hands, the truth right before her very eyes. Don said a silent prayer that she’d be as clueless about things as Hart was, but when he heard the gasp fall from her lips, he knew full well that he hadn’t been that fortunate.

“Oh my God,” Shannon’s jaw dropped in astonishment. Her eyes widened as she looked between the pages in front of her.

“That’s just medical garbage and it’s not really anything important,” Don tried to recover reaching out for the papers once again.

“The hell it is,” she mouthed shaking her head at the both of them, “I’m not stupid here you know.”

“I realize that, but Shannon…” Don began again finding himself at a loss.

“Don is this serious? Is this really for real?” she questioned seeing her answers written on both men’s faces and suddenly in that moment everything made complete sense for the first time in a long time.


“Um would you care to tell me what that was all about?” Deana questioned with a curious look eyeing Diego intently. She watched him rub at his neck while his face was still a crimson shade after Cori had nailed him in the groin area.

“Truthfully I’d rather not,” Diego admitted with a heavy sigh sinking back further onto the edge of his desk. “Let’s just say that I’m not having the best of days here.”

“Yeah well where I come from when a woman who does that to a man, she’s usually got a pretty good reason to want to hang him so to speak,” Deana noted unable to curb her curiosity, “So am I to gather that she wasn’t completely unprovoked in this particular instance? I mean not that I justify homicide by any means, but…”

There was a knock on the door and Deana turned to see Grady standing in the archway watching the both of them with a curiosity.

“I spoke too soon,” she scowled ever so slightly, “In some cases, there is completely justifiable homicide.”

“Please don’t let me bring your spirits down,” Grady noted giving her a quick once over, “I’d hate to think that I have that kind of power over you already.”

“You are far from having any kind of power over me,” Deana wrinkled her nose at him, “I can’t even pretend to like you at this point.”

“Oh and here I was hoping we’d be best friends,” Grady jabbed further enjoying the jabs he was making at this newfound amusement in fighting with her.

“Oh sure, that’s on the top of my list,” Deana groaned inwardly before flashing him an icy smile, “if I was standing on my head.”

“Cute, but you know I’m sure I could change your mind if you gave me a chance,” Grady suggested giving her another once over.

“With the way your eyes keep undressing me I can assure you that you wouldn’t have even a millisecond to plead your case,” Deana’s eyes flickered over to Diego. “I trust you’re in good hands now. Well, probably not giving your company, but it’s worth a start I suppose.”

“Right,” Diego nodded with a small wave, “Thanks for your help Deana. I appreciate it.”

“Any time,” she waved walking out of Diego’s office and leaving him and Grady alone.

“So what can I do for you Grady,” Diego paused giving him a curious look, “Unless of course you were looking for Nurse Sherman there.”

“As much as she’d like that, the truth to the matter is that I was looking for you. I’m sure that you’ve heard a little bit about my brother being alive,” Grady started to explain to him.

Diego nodded, “There have been rumors circulating about that here at the hospital.”

“Well he’s got a hell of a lot going on right now since Brant Ashford has decided that now is the optimal time to start making Russell’s life a living hell. I was hoping that maybe you could try to talk to my brother. He’s really upset and while I’m trying to help, I know you’re the professional and all. Jade always said you were good at making someone feel better when it felt like the world was against them. She said that you just had a way that made the impossible seem possible for her.”

“I appreciate the kind words, but I don’t know if I’d go that far,” Diego thought about the way his life had been going lately. He was starting to believe that it wasn’t possible to reach anyone given that he’d had his own personal issues taking place more and more each day. “I would be willing to talk to your brother though if you think he’d like that.”

“I think it couldn’t hurt,” Grady explained with a heavy sigh, “I just don’t want him thinking that this is an impossible situation for him after he went through hell and back to get home again.”

“I’m sure we can work something out,” Diego promised reaching for something on his desk. “Did you say he’s down by Avery?”

Grady nodded, “Yeah that’s where he was when I left.”

“I’ll go see what I can do then,” Diego decided walking Grady out of his office before heading towards the elevators.

Grady started to follow when he spotted Deana over by the desk. Unable to refrain from speaking with her again, he walked up behind her and spoke up in the back of her ear.

“You know I think they have rules about stalking someone in this town,” Grady joked in a teasing tone watching her turn around to glare at him with her brown eyes.

“Excuse me,” she huffed up at him placing her hands up on her hips impatiently.

“If you want to talk to me, all you have to do is say hello instead of following me around,” Grady winked down at her watching the groan that fell from her lips.

“If anyone is being stalked here, it’s me. You are the one who refuses to just go away when I’ve tried again and again to make it clear that I have no interest in hearing whatever it is you have to say unless you’d like my medical opinion,” she mouthed sourly, shaking her head at him.

“Medical opinion huh,” he scratched his chin lightly giving her a long once over, “You know I’d buy that if I didn’t find myself unable to get rid of you. I mean it’s clear to see you like me, so why not admit it? You couldn’t walk away from Diego’s office because you were hoping for the opportunity to catch me alone out in the hallway. Admit it.”

“Only in your dreams loser,” she rolled her eyes before taking a step back, “Although I will say you’re on the right floor Mr. Denton because if you think for one second that I would even have one inkling of interest in a loud, obnoxious, irritating man like you, then you belong in the psych ward and committed because regardless of whatever vibe you think it is you picked up on earlier from me, I have news for you. I’m not that desperate.”

“Desperate,” he repeated with a muted laugh, “Oh now sweetheart I’d be the greatest adventure of your life and we both know it.”

“You’re full of bull and I think anyone with eyes or ears knows that,” she wrinkled her nose at him once again before collecting her charts. “Good day Mr. Denton and if you’re smart, you’ll stop following me because I have work to do.”

“Right,” Grady laughed lightly watching her walk off as he found himself amused with his newfound connection at the hospital. “You know you really don’t have to be so rude. You can just admit that you like me.”

“Like you,” she huffed back at him, “I can’t stand you. I don’t know where you would think otherwise.”

“And here I thought it took years for a woman to start hating me,” he leaned in against the counter watching her spin around and face him again.

“I guess that they weren’t smart enough to see you as you truly are. Either that or they really didn’t mind wasting their time with a creep like you. Fortunately for the both of us, you won’t find that happening here,” she snapped back at him spinning on her heel and walking off. He laughed lightly realizing that he wasn’t sure why, but he found himself very intrigued with the one woman in town who seemed to loathe him. It wasn’t the norm, yet there was something almost amusing about it given the day he’d been having. Perhaps it was a sign of things to come for him.


Ria pulled her keys out of her pocket as she took a step in closer to her apartment door. There were so many thoughts going through her mind as she thought about what Kevin could have possibly gotten her.

“I wonder what you did now,” Ria smiled unlocking the door before opening, but coming to a stop when she realized the door was slightly stuck. She gave it a small push hearing something fall to the ground when she took a step in her apartment. “Oh my…”

Ria shut the door amazed at everything she saw before her. There had to be at least twelve dozen red roses spread out in front of her. They were everywhere, you could hardly see the floor of the living room in her apartment.

“Wow,” Ria smirked hearing her cell phone begin to ring as she quickly went to answer her phone knowing it was Kevin. “Hello.”

“Beautiful,” Kevin smiled to himself, sitting down on Angie’s couch as he let out a small sigh. “I’m hoping you went home to see what I got you.”

“I’m home alright,” Ria informed him with a small laugh, trying to walk past all the roses. “How did you do all this? The roses are beautiful. I just have to find enough space for them.”

“I’m sure you will find some space,” Kevin chuckled rubbing the back of his neck as he spoke. “So, you’re amazed about the flowers and that’s it. I am going to take the guess that you haven’t found your other gifts yet.”

“Other gifts? I think you may have outdone yourself Kevin,” she pointed out with another small laugh as she walked over towards the kitchen. “The roses are beautiful, I could have done with just those.”

“No you couldn’t have,” Kevin stated with a small smirk, leaning forward on the couch before continuing, “I mean, what I also got you--I think you will like better. I believe it should be on the kitchen table.”

“The kitchen table,” Ria repeated what he said, turning around to look at the table before her that had something on top of it. She walked over to pick it up before giving it a small shake. “What is it?”

“You'll see, I think you should open it before you ask me what it is,” Kevin offered up with a small laugh, “it might be more clear once you get the wrapping paper off. And be careful, it’s authentic.”

“Authentic,” Ria’s curiosity grew as she started to unwrap the present before her, being careful like Kevin said to do. After unwrapping it she took a moment to look at the thing in her hands. “A batman lunch box?”

“Not any batman lunch box,” Kevin playfully gasped, placing his hand over his chest as he spoke, “it’s the batman lunchbox you begged me to have when we were younger. If I do recall batman was your hero Ria. As was mine.”

“I remember, I just can’t believe you found it,” Ria switched her cell phone to the other ear, holding the authentic lunchbox in her hands more sturdy. “I didn’t think they made these anymore.”

“Well, that’s what searching around gets you,” Kevin declared letting out a small sigh as he looked down at his watch. “I wanted to get it for you and I found it. Nothing is impossible when it comes to me.”

“I know that by now,” Ria felt something slide around in the lunchbox as her curiosity grew. “What is inside of it?”

“That’s for you to find out,” he replied with a small smile knowing she would be opening the lunchbox as he spoke to her. “Did you open it?”

“I did,” she nodded, holding the videotape in her hands as she let out a small laugh. “ What in the world is it exactly?”

“I think you should go over to the television and find out,” Kevin stated with a small smirk as he leaned back into the couch once more. “I think this is something you might like.”

“Okay,” she chuckled walking over to the television to push the videotape in the player before letting out a small laugh seeing her and Kevin together on Halloween when they were younger. “That’s us.”

“That’s us when I was batman and you were batgirl,” Kevin nodded slowly before letting out a small laugh. “I thought it might bring back good memories. You know, of us trying to compete with Seth trying to get more candy than the other one. Which I do believe I won.”

“Yeah right,” Ria shook her head slowly letting out another small laugh, “I whooped both of you. Seth and you Kevin. I believe I won that competition.”

“It’s not my fault Ms. Porter our teacher hated me,” Kevin let out a small sigh as he thought back to when they were younger. “She gave you like her whole bowl of candy. She didn’t give me anything.”

“Kevin, you know you gave that woman such a hard time in class,” Ria reminded him hearing him let out a small laugh. “I remember you hid your fart machine right by her desk. Every time she sat down you hit the button and every kid started to laugh. I think she probably figured it out it was you when the only time it didn’t happen was when you were absent.”

“That wasn’t my fart machine, I was a very good student,” Kevin stated with a small chuckle, shaking his head slowly. “I had absolutely nothing to do with that. The woman just had really bad gas, I don’t know what to tell you.”

“Sure, sure,” Ria shook her head slowly before looking over at the clock. “How long are you available to talk?”

“A little while,” Kevin answered with a small smile, “I’d say about twenty minutes.”

“Good,” Ria sat down on the couch after grabbing her remote. “I want to watch this while you are on the phone, so I could share the moment with you.”


Chris looked around his living room thinking about how perfect it was going to be to have Angela around again. It had been far too long since they’d spent any time with one another and suddenly the idea of having her around had him imagining all the fun things that they could get into with one another. Of course it wouldn’t be as long of a list as it was before when she wasn’t pregnant, but hey they could still have a great time. Here he was starting over in Coral Valley and it was getting better by the moment.

Hearing his phone ring Chris walked over to it seeing it was Angela’s number. He picked it up cheerfully and spoke into the phone in a sexy tone, “So when can I expect you? Shall I break out the whipped cream now or let it chill a little while longer?”

“I think it’s going to be a long time before you’ll be able to use it Chris because I changed my mind. I’m not coming to Coral Valley,” Angela explained with a heavy sigh, “It’s just not a good idea right now.”

“Says who,” he frowned sinking down onto the leather sofa he’d picked out specifically for this room in his bachelor pad, “Angel I thought that we had plans that would rock this town in ways these boring folks can’t even begin to imagine.”

“As much as I’d like that there are things happening in my personal life that have kind of kept me away from the rest of the world,” she paused a hesitance in her tone, “specifically they’ve kept me away from Cameron.”

“Cameron huh,” Chris thought it over for a moment, “Would that thing in particular be the fact that you’re about to have a baby and the father is obviously missing in action?”

“Chris, I’d really rather not talk about it,” she replied uneasily wishing that she hadn’t told him about being pregnant in the first place.

“Yeah well I find that the things we want to talk about the least are often the subjects that we should brush up on the most,” he leaned back further on the couch, “So talk Angel, what’s going on? What’s the story with the no show dad?”

“It’s not a big deal,” she bit down on her lower lip nervously, “It’s not worth getting into.”

“You keep saying that, but try me,” Chris paused for a moment knowing that she was feeling uncomfortable about touching the subject with him, “You know that I’m the last person in the world who would ever dream of judging you considering that I’ve done and said it all kiddo.”

“I know,” she hesitated again before finally speaking up, “He was just a guy…”

“Well yes I’d kind of assumed that he was male since biology dictates that a man and a woman need to get together to procreate,” he stated the obvious hearing the stifled groan from her end of the line, “Seriously what’s the story Angel? Who do I have to kill?”

“You don’t have to kill anyone,” she sighed heavily apprehension in her words, “He was just a one night stand that’s had some after effects.”

“Other than pregnancy?” Chris couldn’t help but ask curiously.

“I’m having twins. I’d say that’s a pretty big one there,” she added quietly thinking about the situation she’d found herself in.

“Oh yeah that’s certainly an aftershock there and I take it daddy doesn’t know that he’s about to bring two bundles of joy into the world,” Chris noted her uneasiness with the situation.

“Neither does my big brother,” she pointed out thinking about how Cameron would react to the news, “and once he finds out, he’s going to kill me for being so damned irresponsible and…”

“Angel honey face it Cameron knows you’re no where near being a virgin. He can hardly expect it out of you considering that…” Chris began to state the obvious.

“Even so he isn’t going to be thrilled with the idea of his little sister being knocked up by some random stranger. It’s going to send him through the roof and I know how he is. He’ll completely freak out about it. It’ll be a total nightmare,” Angela blurted out with a heavy groan, “It’ll be awful.”

“So tell him that the father isn’t a random stranger. Let him think I’m the father,” Chris chuckled with mild amusement, “That’s bound to give him another direction to channel his rage.”

“Yeah and if you value your life you’ll forget you even suggested it,” she warned him sharply, “That’s so not even funny.”

“If you would’ve married me back in the day, then it could’ve maybe been a bit of a truthful statement,” he pointed out with a small, poignant smile, “but seriously Angel don’t let something as wonderful as motherhood keep you locked away from the rest of the world. I’ll bet you’re absolutely beautiful right now and any man would jump on the chance to be with you.”

“You’d be surprised at how far from the truth you are considering my bad luck lately,” she let out a tiny groan.

“Oh now that’s because you were wasting your time on losers when you could’ve been with me. I’ve told you the door has always been open and the bed is always waiting for you to hop on in again,” Chris teased further.

“Oh right,” she rolled her eyes at his comment, “Like you could even take the idea of being responsible there.”

“Hey I can be very responsible…” he paused thinking about that statement, “Well maybe sort of responsible half the time…okay maybe a quarter of the time at best, but who is really counting?”

“Chris, let’s face it you don’t have grown up bone in your body and at this point I don’t think I could afford to raise another child,” she placed her hand over her abdomen gingerly.

“But that doesn’t mean that you love me any less, right?” he inquired hearing her laughter over the line.

“I’ve always loved you Chris and you know I always will,” she replied unable to help herself with her old friend.

“So does this mean that I can put the non-alcoholic sparkling grape juice back on ice and be ready to meet you naked in my foyer when you arrive,” he teased with a hint of seduction in his tone, “In fact, I can even wear a big, red bow if you’d like and then we can give things another go and hey we can pretend that I could be the father of those little children you’re having. Hell, we can practice all night at it if you’d like.”

“Chris,” she shook her head and let out a groan, “Is sex the only thing that you have on your mind?”

“Only when you’re the one I’m discussing it with, but seriously Angel,” he sat up straighter all hints of teasing leaving his voice, “I really have missed you and I’d like to see you again.”

“I’d like to see you too, but right now, I don’t think it’s going to fit into the plans. I don’t see how it can considering that I have a whole world of issues I’m carrying along with me,” she explained remembering Kevin’s warnings to her.

“Well you know what I have to say about issues,” Chris sat up straighter his voice rising with a renewed determination, “I say you take those issues pack them up in a suitcase and bring them with you because if you give me half an hour to change your mind, I promise that I’ll convince you that coming out here is the best thing you can do right now. In fact it’s the only thing you can do…”

“Chris come on,” she pleaded with him.

“Half an hour is all I’m asking and if you’re not convinced, then I will come out there myself and try all over again in person,” he teased not giving up on the idea of having his old friend in Coral Valley to visit him again. It had been far too long for them and he wasn’t about to wait any longer to see her.


Brant attempted to shake off his encounter with Cheryl Denton knowing that he shouldn’t take her words to heart, yet there was something about what she had said--something about the way she’d confronted him that got him thinking about the way things were. Once he saw Avery again everything would be perfectly clear. He would remember all over again why he was doing this--why he had to hold onto her and Russ couldn’t get in the way of that. Of course that would be easier said than done considering, but after Don helped him out, the problem would be solved.

“But not as soon as you’d like it to be obviously,” Brant frowned hearing a voice in his head alert him to the fact that something was off as he noticed the guard he’d left at Avery’s room was no longer standing there. Upon further inspection Brant could see Russ and Elliot inside Avery’s room close to her bedside. Frowning now that Brant was alone in the situation he knew that he couldn’t let Russ stay in there with Avery especially not now when Brant had the wheels turning for the way things needed to be. The last place Brant wanted Russ was at Avery’s side and if he didn’t move fast Russ could compromise everything.

“I can’t let that happen,” Brant decided turning around and making his way over to the security station. He found one of the men he’d spoken with earlier seated behind a desk and eating a muffin of some sorts. Glaring down at him Brant spoke up gruffly, “I thought I told you to have someone on my wife’s door at all times.”

“Um Mr. Ashford sir,” the man stammered up to his feet, “I was told that someone was there.”

“Well you were clearly misinformed given that we’ve got uninvited guests inside,” Brant snapped down at him with a glare, “I asked you to do one simple thing, yet here you are chomping away on a muffin…”

“It’s actually a cupcake,” the man corrected catching Brant’s glare, “but I um can get someone um right on it sir.”

“See to it that you do and as for the company my wife has,” Brant adjusted his tie, “allow me to take care of that.”

Hurriedly Brant made his way over to the nurse’s station to pull one more string. Sure he knew that it wasn’t something he’d be particularly proud of, but he was certain it would do the trick in getting rid of Russ once and for all.


“What is it dad,” Russ questioned looking up to his father worriedly, “What’s on your mind?”

“What isn’t right about now son,” Elliot rubbed his palms together before moving in closer to Russ, “The truth is that there’s something I think you and I should talk about. You see there are some situations that I really think we need to touch upon.”

“If this is about my being in here against Brant’s orders,” Russ began with a frown.

“No, this isn’t about that,” Elliot shook his head again, “This is about everything that’s happened leading up until this point in time. I know that right now the Ashfords are pulling rank around here and…”

“And this isn’t all dad,” Russ explained with a groan, “Dad you were right about everything. All those years of hearing you tell me just how evil they were, well it never prepared me for what happened. I had no idea that they could be so horrible. I mean first I come back to hear about Brant marrying Avery and snatching her up right at her most vulnerable moment and then with the airport…”

“Son, I know right now you’re feeling a lot of emotions, but…” Elliot cleared his throat with a heavy feeling of discomfort riding over him.

“Dad, you don’t understand. That day at the airport I was looking into finding Bruce. I was trying to find out who was financing him and keeping him out of the eyes of the law. I knew that someone like Bruce couldn’t be ducking out of the FBI radar without a little help and that’s when I brought Kyle in. Avery asked me to stop investigating, but I couldn’t let go of the issue. I couldn’t allow that man to destroy us, but I had no idea what I was getting myself into. None of us did,” Russell thought back to that desperate need for the truth that had overtaken him. “The man Bruce had hired to spy on Avery and I had a woman that he was linked to--or rather I believed that she was tied to him, but she was just a cover. She was just someone that they used to bait me--someone who was there to make sure that I never found Avery again…”

“Son what are you trying to tell me,” Elliot questioned worriedly.

“I’m saying that the day of the explosion at the airport it was made plainly obvious that I was never supposed to be here in Coral Valley. Not only was Bruce working to keep me from Avery, but I found out that the person who was trying to keep us apart, or should I say people were two very powerful, very manipulative souls and…” Russ began with a shudder looking to his wife and feeling a sudden fear rush over him.

“Russ,” a voice interrupted bursting into the room as one of the younger nurses rushed in with a look of sheer panic, “Mr. Denton, they’re looking for you all over. Something’s wrong!”

“Wrong?” Russ repeated watching the color drain from her face. “What is it?”

“It’s your daughter…it’s Erin,” the nurse blurted out worriedly, “She’s missing.”

“What?” Russ rose up to his feet a sudden throbbing sensation hitting him right square in the gut, “How can she be missing?”

“I don’t know. One minute she was in the nursery and then the next I’m getting the report that she’s gone and…” the nurse burst into tears only adding fuel to Russell’s worry.

“Damn it!” Russ cursed looking to his father worriedly.

“We’re going to find her son,” Elliot promised knowing full well that if Erin was truly missing things were far from right.


Brant peered around the corner seeing Elliot and Russell rush out of Avery’s room. Seconds later the woman he’d sent in there walked out, wiping at her face and pulling off the scrub top she’d donned when Brant had asked for a favor. He rushed forward seeing her outstretched hand waiting for the money he’d promised her.

“See, I told you I could do it Brant,” she grinned up at him readily accepting the money he’d promised her.

“I can see that, but I don’t understand why they went that way. I told you to tell him that he had a phone call and was wanted at the nurse’s station April,” Brant eyed her suspiciously knowing that while Blake’s former pal wasn’t exactly the best of people to enlist in his aid, she seemed to be the best at the time.

“Yeah, well let’s just say I didn’t really think that your method would generate the response that you needed,” she shrugged her shoulders before turning down the hallway to leave.

“Wait. What did you tell them?” Brant couldn’t help but ask fearing that he might’ve stepped into more trouble by asking for her help.

“Trust me Brant. You don’t want to know. Good luck with your wife,” she waved at him dismissively before taking off for the night ready to enjoy her freedom now that she’d finished her last day at the hospital.

“I don’t know if I like this,” Brant paused looking between April and Avery’s room.

“Mr. Ashford,” a man broke through his thoughts as Brant spun around to see two security officers standing behind him, “we’re here like you requested.”

“See to it you stay here outside my wife’s door because as of now, I don’t want anyone other than my wife’s doctors or myself coming in here. Do you understand me?” Brant demanded eyeing them expectantly.

“Of course sir,” the taller man nodded as Brant entered Avery’s room ready to do what was necessary to give him the much needed time alone with his wife without any interruptions.


“I don’t think I feel so comfortable having something over my eyes,” Kipp continued to walk forward feeling Kellen leading him forward. “I think I would like to see where I am going.”

“Don’t worry,” Kellen whispered grabbing Kipp’s hand in his tightly, motioning him to turn to the right. “It’s not like I am going to push you off the edge of a hill or something.”

“I know, I just don’t want to trip over something and break my neck,” Kipp stated with a small frown as he felt Kellen make him take a few more steps forward before stopping.

“Stay here for one second,” Kellen ordered opening a door and then grabbing Kipp’s hands again, pulling him forward slowly. “I worked really hard at getting everything all together, so I hope you like this.”

“I’m sure I will,” Kipp replied with a small smile, feeling Kellen step in behind him starting to untie the cloth that was around Kipp’s eyes. “Once I see, I’m sure I will like it.”

“Give me a minute, I’m slowly,” Kellen laughed, pulling the cloth away from Kipp’s eyes before taking a step back. “So, what do you think?”

“Wow Kellen,” Kipp looked around the room they were in before letting out a small smile. Kellen had a candlelight table set up in the corner and they were inside a planetarium. “How did you do all of this?”

“I have my ways,” Kellen shrugged, a small smile appearing over his lips as Kipp walked over towards the table. “I know the whole planetarium thing is a little cheesy, but it was the best I could come up with.”

“I love the idea,” Kipp assured Kellen with a small frown, looking over his shoulder back at Kellen. Kipp turned to face Kellen before holding his hands up in the air. “I just want to know how you did this. It’s amazing. How did something like this come into your mind?”

“Well,” Kellen began walking over towards one of the seats and sitting down against the edge of it. “I was watching you sleeping one night and I was thinking about how upset you’ve been. I realized for you, it was like your world was closing in on you. It was forcing you to make some decisions you weren’t ready for. And I got to thinking what better way to get you away from the world for a while. Dinner by the stars while no other person is around. The world is no longer around, you’re away from the world and out in the stars. I guess that’s a start to why I did all this.”

“I can’t believe you did all this for me Kellen,” Kipp shook his head, not believing that there really was someone that loved him this much. Kellen was willing to do anything for him and that was thing he loved the most about Kellen. Kellen would give up anything for him, there was nothing more he could want in Kellen. Kellen was perfect in every way possible.

“I did it because I love you Kipp,” Kellen stood up from where he was sitting, walking over towards Kipp slowly. “I mean, I can’t have you always being sad. My Kipp just isn’t the same when he isn’t smiling. My days aren’t going to be bright anymore without your smile and your laugh. I just want you to have fun and I want you to relax. I want this night to be perfect for you in every way possible. That way, you wake up realizing everything is going to be okay. I love you Kipp and I just want you happy.”

“I’m always happy with you Kellen, you’re that one person that always makes me feel good about me. I need that in someone and I am so glad that I found you. Without you, I don’t get the love I need. If I never had you, I couldn’t be happy about anything,” Kipp replied, feeling Kellen slide his hand in with his. “I love everything you set up Kellen. It’s perfect. Thank you so much for doing this for me.”

“It’s no problem sweetheart,” Kellen smirked, leaning forward to give Kipp a small kiss on the lips before leaning back with a small frown. “I think if we wait any longer, the food might get cold though. So, you ready to eat?”

“Of course I am,” Kipp nodded holding onto Kellen’s hand tighter as they walked over towards the table in the back. “I’m sure everything is going to be perfect.”

“When I am with you,” Kellen helped Kipp into his seat before going to sit down across from Kipp, “everything is always perfect in my life.”


“We should only what?” Sarah looked up into Kyle’s dark eyes as he tried to think of something to say to her. “You want to get back together, don’t you?”

“About that,” Kyle tried to say something to tell her no, but the way she was looking at him right now made him feel bad inside. “What I meant to say is that we should really take it slow. I need to be careful you know.”

“So, you don’t want to get back together,” Sarah smiled holding onto Kyle tighter before leaning up to kiss him once more. “I swear I won’t mess up Kyle. Everything is going to be perfect.”

“Perfect,” Kyle muttered resting his chin on the top of her head as she hugged him. He let out a small sigh before closing his eyes. “This relationship will be…perfect.”

“I’m glad you agree with me,” Sarah grinned widely, enclosing her fingers with Kyle’s as she looked up into his dark eyes. “Is something wrong? It looks like you have something on your mind.”

“I do,” Kyle replied with a small shrug of his shoulders before continuing on without telling her what he was really thinking about. “I’m just thinking about everything, but nothing is wrong between the two of us. It’s okay.”

“We’ll make the relationship work,” she repeated, reaching up to touch the side of his face gently before leaning up to kiss him once more. “I promise you that.”

“Wait a second,” Kyle paused pulling away from her for a moment before shrugging his shoulders. “I need you to understand one thing before we restart this whole relationship over.”

“Alright,” she nodded slowly, her eyebrows tensing as she saw Kyle think things over for a moment, “What might that be?”

“You need to understand that I am always going to be there for my friends. Russell, Avery, Grady--they are all like family to me. My life is always going to have them as a big part of it and nothing it going to take that away from me,” Kyle informed her with a small shake of his head before letting out a small sigh. “I need you to know that all my time isn’t going to be with you because I have things I have to take care of. There is Erin and Avery, she’s in the hospital. Avery is like my sister, it’s hard seeing her hurt like this. I need you to know that I love her, okay. Russ is like my brother and so is Grady--I’m never going to leave their side.”

“I understand that Kyle and I totally respect that,” Sarah assured him with a small shrug of her shoulders. “I know they mean so much to and I never thought that was a bad thing. I totally understand why you would want to be there for them. I have always understood Kyle. I totally agree with everything you are doing.”

“You do?” Kyle questioned, seeing Sarah nod slowly before taking a step in closer to him. “So you understand that to make this relationship work you will have to be able to let me be with my family. My best friends.”

“Of course Kyle, I want you to be happy,” Sarah answered seeing him look down towards the ground before shrugging his shoulders. “I love you Kyle and I always will.”

“Yeah,” Kyle sighed feeling her hug him once more as he let out a small sigh.

Sarah looked across the hallway seeing Diego who was now approaching them, but stopped dead in his tracks once he saw her and Kyle together.

“I love you Kyle,” Sarah whispered leaning up to kiss Kyle slowly, feeling his hand slide in against the small of her back gently. “I always have and I always will.”


Russ ran to the nursery thinking about everything that he’d been told about Erin’s disappearance. Knowing how far others had come in the hopes of eliminating him from Avery’s life, he hoped and prayed that they hadn’t done the same with his daughter. Sure, he’d only just remembered what had happened to him, but now with the memory of how he’d been taken from Avery fresh on his mind, he feared for what could happen to his daughter. Running over to the window he was met by Grady near the nursery.

“Grady, Erin’s missing!” Russ shouted ready to demand answers when Grady gave him a strange sideways glance.

“No she’s not,” Grady shook his head puzzled by his brother’s sudden declaration, “I was just in there with her. She’s fine.”

“What?” Russ turned his attention to the window of the nursery seeing his daughter inside where she’d been before. This time however Cheryl was holding her with a nurse at her side. Without another word Russ ran into the nursery feeling his heart pounding in his chest.

“Russ,” Cheryl looked up at him with a confused expression watching him sweep Erin out of her arms.

“Oh thank God you’re safe,” Russ kissed his daughter’s forehead his breath coming out in furious gasps. He hugged her closer to him fighting the tears of relief that swept over him. He kissed her forehead again and again and Cheryl touched his arm gently.

“Russ, you don’t want to squeeze her too hard honey,” she warned her son seeing that something was clearly bothering him. “Honey, what is it?”

“Someone said that she was missing--that something happened to her,” Russ explained desperately, “I thought that they’d taken her and…”

“Who Russ? Who would take her?” Cheryl questioned blankly seeing the color had drained from his face.

“Mom you have to promise me that you’ll stay with her. That you won’t let anyone near her,” Russell pleaded with her, “I know she’ll be safe with you and…”

“Of course honey,” she nodded as he placed Erin in her arms again, “I won’t let anything happen to her.”

“We need to get her out of here. Her and Avery. It’s not safe here,” Russ explained remembering what had prompted him to go into panic mode in the first place. “Son of a…”

“Russ, what’s going on…” Cheryl questioned seeing fear flash behind his green eyes.

“Just stay with her mom. Please and if you can’t be here, then at least make sure that someone else is with her…” Russ continued feeling a hand on his shoulder. He jumped upon contact until he spun around to see Guy standing behind him.

“Hey Russ it’s just me,” Guy held his hands up in the air defensively, “I was just coming in to see my niece and…”

“Guy I’m glad you’re here,” Russ let out a breath of relief, “I need to go check in on Avery and I’m leaving Erin with my mom, but if something should happen and she has to leave, I need you to promise me that you’ll stay with Erin--that you won’t let her out of your sight and if anyone comes in here looking for her--if they try to take her anywhere, you don’t let her out of your sight.”

“Of course, but Russ what’s going on?” Guy questioned blankly never having seen his brother-in-law like this before.

“I can’t explain right now, but it’s absolutely vital that you stay with Erin--that you don’t let her be alone in here. Please Guy I’m begging you to do this for Avery--for Erin,” Russell’s green eyes flashed with worry.

“Of course. I’ll stay with her until you come back,” Guy promised with a nod, “She’ll be safe with me.”

“Thank you,” Russ replied with a breath of relief knowing that the battle was far from over for him.


Grady stood in the hallway watching Russ talking with Guy and Cheryl and something about his posture had Grady worried beyond anything he could imagine. While Russ hadn’t said much, what he had mentioned about Erin being missing hadn’t made much sense. Come to think about it nothing about is brother’s approach seemed to generate any kind of rational response, but Grady was willing to guess it had something to do with what had transpired while Russ was away.

“So tell me are you planning on stalking me all day or is it just one of these things that now that I’ve stitched you up, I’m never going to get rid of you,” Deana questioned breaking through Grady’s thoughts. He spun around to see her eyeing him expectantly with a less than impressed expression.

“As much as I’d like to give you an ego boost, I’m here with my brother,” Grady motioned to inside the nursery, “Sorry to disappoint.”

“Oh believe me it’s a relief and far from any kind of disappointment on my end,” she wrinkled her nose at him before sidestepping around him.

“Wait a second,” Grady called out to her with a frown, “Did you just walk up to me to insult me?”

“Pretty much,” she shrugged her shoulders before taking another step forward. She was almost around the corner when Russ ran out of the nursery practically knocking her over in his hurried movement.

“I’m so sorry,” Russ apologized turning his attention to Grady again, “Grady I need to get back to Avery. Someone set me up and I think it was on purpose. I think they were trying to keep me away from her.”

“Why would they do that unless…” Grady’s teeth gritted with heavy agitation, “Ashford.”

“That son of a bitch is at it again and this time he used my daughter to try to manipulate the situation in his favor,” Russell cursed under his breath, “It’s not going to work.”

“Russ wait,” Grady watched Russell rush off in the direction of Avery’s room once again.

“What’s that all about?” Deana couldn’t help but ask seeing Russell’s retreat.

“Let’s just say I think my brother is about to get himself arrested if I don’t intervene,” Grady rolled his eyes at the thought of Brant’s manipulations, “It’s just another case of the Ashfords throwing their weight around and playing god with other people’s lives.”

With that comment Grady raced off after Russ in the hopes of stopping him from doing something stupid, but when Grady spotted him again, Russ was outside Avery’s room arguing with one of the security guards stationed at the door.

“Get out of my way you son of a bitch!” Russell shouted at the oversized man before him. He lunged forward as if he was about to launch an attack on the man and Grady leapt forward hoping to keep Russ from being put in jail.

“Russ hold on,” Grady instructed grabbing his brother and pulling him back.

“I have to get in there Grady. I can’t leave Avery alone with that monster!” Russell shouted his eyes shooting daggers at the men at the door, “I need to be with her!”

“You can be. We’ll just find a way to do it and if you give me a minute to think of something there, then…” Grady trailed off at a loss.

“I’ll get you in there,” Deana’s voice broke through Grady’s words. Both men spun around to see her taking in the scene before her.

“But…” Grady’s jaw dropped at her declaration.

“Can you really do that?” Russell stepped forward suddenly very interested in the blonde nurse before him.

“Of course. I mean it’ll take a little bit of a plan, but I can do it,” she nodded confidently.

“But why? I mean why get involved with this?” Grady gave her a strange look.

“Let’s just say I’m a sucker for romance,” she smiled up at Grady before turning her attention to Russ, “and I’m not fond of people being bullied around. It’s at the top of my list of pet peeves. Look, I can’t really get into it right now, but meet me over by the nurse’s station in a couple of minutes. I’m sure that I can help.”

“Okay,” Russ nodded glancing between Deana and Grady, “I know this is a stupid question, but um I have to ask. Who was that?”

“The most annoyingly wonderful guardian angel I think we’ve encountered in a long time,” Grady couldn’t help but smile realizing that beneath that sharp tongue and stubborn wit was someone that he couldn’t help but be impressed, irritated and intrigued with at the same time. If she could deliver in on her promise to help Russ, then Grady would make sure that he found a proper way to thank her for her troubles!


Brant tipped his head up seeing the commotion that had taken place beyond the closed door to Avery’s hospital room. While he’d feared that Russ would be able to break inside, he had let out a breath of relief when it appeared that the hotheaded Denton brother had backed off. Sure, he was prepared for Russ to put up a fight, but this was beyond ridiculous. Turning his attention to Avery once again Brant squeezed her hand in his.

“I know that this is a difficult situation Avery, but you have to understand that I did this for us. Everything I’m doing is because I know that you and I were meant to be together. We’ve come so far to share a future with one another and I can’t let him hurt you again. I love you too much for that,” Brant mouthed leaning in to kiss her hand tenderly. He felt her finger twitch beneath the faint brush of his lips and when he turned his eyes to her again, he saw her staring back at him.

“Avery,” he spoke her name, a smile spreading over his handsome features. He moved in closer to her touching her face gently.

“Brant,” she breathed his name in a small, groggy tone, her eyelashes fluttering before she looked to him again.

“Oh thank God,” he replied leaning down to kiss her gently, “I was so worried about you. For a moment I thought that I might’ve lost you and…”

“Wh-what happened,” she questioned in a small voice, her dark eyes confused and disoriented, “I had the worst dream and now…”

“You’re safe sweetheart. I’m here now and everything is going to be okay,” Brant promised squeezing her hand in his.

“I had a nightmare. I had this horrible dream that…” Avery trailed off feeling her eyes mist over with tears. Unable to contain herself a moment longer she burst into tiny sobs, “Brant I was so afraid that I’d never see you again--that you’d never come home and…”

“I’m here baby,” he promised scooping her into his arms. He felt her shiver beneath his embrace as he kept her close to him. He ran his fingers through her dark hair, his lips pressing small kisses on the top of her head, “I promise you that you’re safe now and nothing is ever going to hurt you again. Everything is going to be okay for us. I promise you.”

“Oh Brant,” she cried harder hugging him as if she’d never let go despite the fact that she was still weak from her earlier condition, “I was so afraid that I’d lost you…that I wouldn’t be able to be with you again…”

“I’m sorry I left like I did before, but I swear to you that I’m not going to let anything get between us ever again. I love you Avery. I love you so much,” he mouthed rocking her gently in his arms.

“I love you too,” she replied leaning into him as she felt the weight of her nightmare upon her. Hearing her words only seemed to fuel Brant’s urgency to keep her with him--to keep her safe as she had said just what he’d needed to hear. She loved him. She wanted him and needed him and there was no way he’d ever let her go--not now, not ever!


“Don answer me,” Shannon demanded looking at her husband with a serious expression. She waved the paper in her hand around in the air once more before commanding a response from him. “Damn it Don talk!”

“Look Shannon, I can explain this one, but you need to just hand me that because…” Don took a small step towards her in an attempt to pull the paper away from her, but she pulled it out of his reach.

“I can’t believe you,” she shook her head at him, “I mean I knew that you and Brant had this stupid boys club thing going, but if you were going to manipulate this one for him…”

“Shannon, that’s not really something that you need to be telling everyone about,” Don tried to reason with her making another small step forward. “I can see that you’re surprised by what you see too which is all the more reason that we don’t let that leave this lab and…”

“Are you kidding me,” Shannon’s eyes widened at him, “Don this isn’t something that you can keep a lid on. This isn’t something that you can just keep to yourself when everyone needs to know about this. Brant might have been pulling your strings before, but this…well this is something that no one is going to see coming and I’m not about to let you do something stupid about it.”

“Shannon, just give the paper back to Don. This isn’t any of your business,” Hart took a bold step forward glaring at his friend’s wife. “This doesn’t concern you.”

“The hell it doesn’t. When you two are in here going to do something that you’re both going to regret, you need someone to talk some sense into you,” she glared at both of the men. “Don I can’t believe that you’d even think about playing a hand in any of what’s going on.”

“Shannon, you don’t understand. Please don’t do this. Don’t make something impossible simply because you don’t agree with me on this,” Don offered up again.

“Oh hell no. I’m not going to let you get into trouble for that jerk of a friend of yours. You might think that you’re doing Brant a favor or that this is something that you can just work with, but it’s not happening. This might not be what anyone expected, but damn it, it’s what everyone needs to hear,” Shannon took a step forward. “I’m not keeping a lid on this one.”

“Oh come on,” Hart threw his hands up in the air and groaned. He moved in towards Shannon, “Don if you’re not man enough to stand up to your wife, then I will. Give me the damned paper Shannon.”

“The hell I will,” Shannon growled at him watching him move in to block her from leaving the lab. She saw him move forward and she brought her elbow into his ribs sending him buckling forward.

“Shannon come on,” Don touched her arm only to feel her twist it in such a way that it brought him to the floor in a moment of agony until she released it with a huff.

“They deserve the truth Don and I have the truth in my hand whether Brant or Russ likes it,” Shannon snapped at the both of them, “You can’t change what is really here and I’m going to make sure that you don’t. No one is going to get away with manipulating this situation. I’ll make sure of that.”

“But…” Don watched his wife stomp out of the lab with the truth in her hands and he found himself fearing what would happen when Shannon revealed the time bomb that was just about ready to explode in her hands. If she showed anyone else what he’d found, he was certain all hell would break loose in Coral Valley!


...to be continued...