Episode 277

“This is unbelievable,” Guy threw his hand up in the air pacing around the hospital as he thought of the war that was taking place between the two men his sister was involved with. “Here Russ just returned from the dead and Brant is acting like this is a fight over some kind of toy. The both of them are behaving like children and this is my sister’s life that’s on the line, not their stupid pride.”

“Guy, they both are just afraid right now. They both love her and…” Mindy tried to explain wishing that she could find a way to make the situation a bit less tense for her best friend. “They are terrified and that’s why they are acting out like this. They both don’t want anything to happen to her.”

“So then what’s the point of trying to tear one another apart? You know that’s the last thing that Avery would want,” he sighed heavily slumping down in a chair despite the nervous energy that was pouring over him. “I just don’t get why all of this had to happen in the first place, but with them making it worse…”

“Maybe it’s a good thing that Avery isn’t awake to see all of this happening,” Mindy took a seat beside him. She saw the surprise that flashed behind his eyes before she explained further, “Guy I’m not saying that I want Avery to be in the state she’s in right now, but maybe she’s getting a break here. You’re right about the way Russ and Brant are acting. They both have their own set of good intentions, but rather than working together they are taking out their own worries and fears on one another.”

Guy sighed heavily, “I know. It’s just when I think about how they are carrying on.”

“I know,” Mindy placed her hand on his and offered up a look of understanding. “They shouldn’t be doing what they are doing, but both are afraid of losing her.”

“And when she wakes up one of them will,” Guy noted tipping his head to the side to look at Mindy. “That’s what it will amount to when Avery wakes up and they both know it.”

“I realize that,” she paused thinking about the decision Avery was going to have in front of her. “She’s loved Russ for all of her life…”

“Yet Brant has been good to her,” Guy couldn’t help but add. “He’s done things that has shown he’s loved her and I think that she was falling in love with him too. I think she does love him.”

“Yes, but what about Russ?” Mindy couldn’t help but ask wondering about the situation. “She has always wished he’d return to her.”

“I know,” Guy nodded again, “which is something that will make this all the more complicated. I know my sister and I know she’s not going to want to hurt either one of them, but it’s not going to work out that way. One of them is going to find their fears coming alive right before their eyes especially now that Avery is married to Brant and not Russ.”

“Do you think she’ll choose Brant?” Mindy couldn’t help but ask, “I mean he’s claiming to be Erin’s father.”

“I don’t know about that one,” Guy sighed again, “Avery’s been so committed to Russ so I can’t really see her sleeping with Brant back then, yet…”

“Yet you think Brant might be telling the truth?” Mindy couldn’t help but ask.

“I really don’t know what I think, but one thing is for sure. When my sister wakes up she’s going to have one hell of a decision to make,” Guy sighed heavily closing his eyes for a long moment, “I just don’t get why love has to be so damned complicated.”

“You’re telling me,” Mindy leaned back on the seat, “I wish it was just one of those things that was as simple as picking out a pair of good running shoes.”

“In your case that wouldn’t be simple,” Guy couldn’t help but smirk down at her. “You and I both know it can take you weeks to pick out the perfect shoe.”

“That’s because if I don’t get the right one my feet will be killing me,” she let out a small laugh, “and you know how I hate that.”

“Yeah, I do,” he laughed lightly before tipping his head down to look into her dark eyes, “So tell me something Mindy. Do you think you found the perfect one?”

She sat up straighter, her breath catching in the back of her throat. She shifted on the chair feeling a moment of uneasiness overtake her, “Are we talking about shoes or something else here?”

“You tell me,” Guy challenged wondering if there was something more happening behind her eyes after the way she’d kissed him in the church. “What’s the story with you and Hunt? Does he make you happy?”

“I’d like to think so,” she nodded uneasily wondering what it was Guy was thinking as he sat beside her, “What about you? Have you and Gabe finally come to the conclusion that you two are meant to be together?”

“Yeah,” Guy answered seeing the disappointment behind her eyes, “I’m sure that he’s the one for me. I love him very much and I’d do anything to make it work.”

“I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t disappointed to hear that,” she let out an ironic laugh, “I know it sounds silly considering that I have this really great boyfriend, but I guess in the back of my mind I always thought that you and I would…”

“Mindy if I was different…if it was another lifetime then maybe…” he reached for her hand touching it gently.

“Spare me the if you weren’t gay speech,” Mindy rolled her eyes snapping at him ever so slightly while pulling her hand away from his. “I think I’ve already heard it more than I’d like for this lifetime already.”

“Mindy,” Guy called her name, but the damage had already been done. He watched her walk off and found himself even more uneasy about the situation around him. He hadn’t meant to hurt her, yet he couldn’t lead her to believe in something that wasn’t there. He started to go after her, but then stopped himself realizing that right now he had to focus on his sister. He would just have to fix what was going on with Mindy later. He just hoped that she wouldn’t hate him forever for being honest with her about the way he felt about things.


“This is amazing Kellen,” Kipp smiled sitting down on the ground with Kellen before laying back against the ground. “Dinner was great, the stars are beautiful.”

“Speaking of stars,” Kellen quickly got up off the ground and ran over towards the table to blow out the candles making the room completely dark around them. The only thing lighting the room was the stars that were up above. “I have something special to show you and to give you.”

“Really?” Kipp leaned up on his elbows as he looked back at Kellen who was now walking back over towards where they had been sitting. “What is it?”

“Wait one minute and I will tell you,” Kellen smirked slowly taking a seat on the floor next to Kipp before scooting in closer to him. He felt Kipp scoot in even closer to him as he let out another small laugh. “You can’t possibly be eager to find out what I have for you. Right?”

“Cut the games Kellen,” Kipp lightly jabbed Kellen in the ribs, hearing Kellen let out a small laugh. “Just cut to the chase, what do you have planned.”

“Well, the first thing is--I want to give you something,” Kellen began with a small smile, pulling a large jewelry box out of his pocket. “This belonged to my grandfather. I think you should have it.”

“Kellen,” Kipp felt Kellen place the box in his hands, motioning Kipp to open it up. “I don’t think…”

“Just open it up,” Kellen placed his index finger over Kipp’s lips to silence him for a moment. “Just please, open it up before you say anything else.”

“Alright,” Kipp nodded slowly, opening up the box to see a gold chain watch before him. Kipp felt Kellen wrap his arm around his shoulders before leaning in closer to Kipp. “It’s beautiful Kellen.”

“I want you to have it,” Kellen whispered, leaning forward to kiss Kipp gently before feeling Kipp pull away from him for a moment. “What is it?”

“Kellen,” Kipp took in a deep breath before shaking his head slowly and closing the box, going to hand it back to Kellen, “I can’t take this. It’s your grandfathers. It’s not my right to take this from you.”

“It’s a gift Kipp. Let me explain why I want you to have it,” Kellen pushed Kipp’s hands back slowly, making Kipp hold onto the jewelry box. “This was my grandfather’s and I didn’t know my grandfather when I was little. I was a very lonely boy, who really had nothing to count on. My mother worked and I loved her dearly, but during the day my brother Cary wanted nothing to do with me. So, my mother realized I was kind of down on myself and my decisions were very seldom made rightly. My mother gave me this saying that every time I felt confused, I should hold onto this and open it up. It’s supposed to give you that strength that everyone needs. My mother told me that when the day came when I was old enough and someone needed the strength--I would know when to pass it on to someone I love. And Kipp, you need this strength. Let me show you something.”

“Okay,” Kipp nodded slowly, watching Kellen grab the jewelry box and open it up before pulling out the watch. Kellen pulled Kipp in closer to him before letting out a small sigh.

“You see, you open this,” Kellen informed Kipp, opening the watch to show Kipp the background of the watch that had stars drawn on it. “And you look into the stars and don’t forget to look at the seconds and minutes passing. As you look as these stars, notice the brightest one there. The north star, once you find it--you find yourself stuck a time. A time of your own, where you can be as open minded as you want to be. You get to be what you want to be. All the answers you are looking for, you can find just with opening this one watch. And I think you need this more than me Kipp. You need the strength and I know this can give it to you.”

“Thank you so much Kellen,” Kipp smiled leaning forward to help Kellen slip it over his head and around his neck. “I’ll always keep this close to me. I promise.”

“I know you will,” Kellen smirked before slowly leaning back and laying down against the ground. “Come lay with me, I have something to show you.”

“Okay,” Kipp laid down, resting his head against Kellen’s chest as he felt Kellen wrap his arm around his shoulders lightly. “All the stars up there Kellen--they’re beautiful.”

“I know they are, but there is one beautiful thing out there I want you to notice,” Kellen reached into his shirt pocket, pulling out a laser light as Kipp looked up at him with a small bit of curiosity behind his eyes. “I come prepared sweetheart.”

“I can’t wait to see what you are doing here,” Kipp chuckled, looking back up towards the stars above them as Kellen turned on the red laser pointed.

“I want you to look right here,” Kellen informed Kipp, pointing to one of the stars above them. “Do you know what star this is?”

“That’s the north star,” Kipp answered with a small smile, looking up to see Kellen nod saying he answered right. “I thought I knew that star.”

“Very good,” Kellen started, taking a deep breath as he tightened his arm around Kipp’s shoulder. “Kipp, the north star is supposed to lead you home. It’s said to lead you to the place you belong. When you are lost and have no one there to help you, you are supposed to look up at to the north star so you can find your way home and get the help you need. Well Kipp, I want to be the one that’s your north star. I want to be the one person who will always be shining bright through the night for you. I want you to be able to trust me so I can help you with anything you need. I want you to come to me when you are feeling confused or sad because I want to be your north star. I want to help you find your way home.”

“Kellen,” Kipp smiled leaning back up to kiss Kellen slowly, running his hand through Kellen’s dark hair. Kellen’s blue eyes seemed to reflect perfectly from the shining light of the stars as Kipp looked down at him. “I love you so much and you have always been my north star.”

“Good, I hope you never think anything less,” Kellen kissed Kipp once more before letting out a small smile. “I love you so much Kipp and I always will.”


“Are you sure that I can’t get up and get you anything else,” Deidra questioned from where she sat on the opposite end of the sofa from where Dean was, “Would you like some more juice or…”

“Deidra I’m fine,” Dean reached out to touch her hand gently, “Seriously why don’t you just try to relax?”

“I’m trying, but I just want to make things perfect for tonight since this is about our trying to start over again,” she explained with a small smile, “I just don’t want to screw this up.”

“In that case, why don’t you just come over here and let me hold you for a while,” he paused seeing the expression that crossed over her face, “Unless of course you feel like I’m pushing it for our ‘first date’ if you will.”

“First date you say,” she couldn’t help but smile at him thinking about how that sounded, “Well since you put it that way then I must confess that it’s completely inappropriate for you to suggest that I kick back and relax in your arms like that.”

“Hmm, well then we are at a crossroads there. We have the decision to be on our best behavior, or to give into what we’re both thinking about,” he patted the cushion of the couch beside him wiggling his brow at her suggestively.

“I don’t put out on the first date,” she wiggled her finger at him offering up a small smile.

“Good because I wasn’t going to ask you to,” he promised feeling her slide in beside him, “Unless of course you really wanted to…”

“Watch it,” she warned tilting her head up to see him grinning down at her, “Your bad manners are showing.”

“And does this really bother you,” he questioned dropping his hand down over her hip.

“It should considering that this is our unofficial second try at a first date,” she turned in his arms to face him, a smile creeping in over her lips.

“Well we could always put that unofficial second attempt at a first date off until I’m up and running around again. I mean it couldn’t hurt, right,” he teased wiggling his brow at her.

“You’re shameless you know that,” she couldn’t resist the urge to lean up and kiss her.

“And I’m glad that you appreciate that,” he mouthed in response teasing her lips with his.

“Tell me something,” she murmured as their mouths parted, “Something that I don’t know about you, but you think I should.”

“Something like what,” he watched her closely, “What’s on your mind?”

“Well obviously there are a lot of things that we still have to talk about between us, but tell me something that is real--something that might seem silly to the rest of the world, but something that you know you can share with me,” she suggested searching his eyes for a long moment.

“You mean like I still leave a nightlight on when I go to bed there because I’m trying to keep the monsters away,” he teased with a wrinkle of his nose.

“You’re such a liar,” she shook her head at him, “I’m being serious Dean.”

“Alright, then how about I start by saying that you are by far the most beautiful woman I’ve ever seen,” he suggested reaching out to brush his fingers through her dark hair gingerly, “Or how when I’m with you I find myself wanting to be a better man?”

“That’s a start, but let’s try something small--something simple--something that maybe you were embarrassed to tell me before, but now you’re ready to share it with me,” she suggested running her hand over his chest lightly.

“Hmm, well in that case, I guess I should come clean and wipe the slate,” he paused for a long, dramatic moment, “The truth to the matter is that I’m well an expert bowler. I was a champion three times in my youth league and that night we went to bowl, well I let you win on purpose.”

“You so did not! I beat you fair and square,” she paused searching his eyes, “Didn’t I?”

“Wouldn’t you like to know,” he teased his eyes wild with laughter watching her glare up at him.

“That’s so not funny,” she couldn’t help but crack a smile leaning in for another kiss, “You’re awful.”

“Far from it and we both know that,” he hugged her in closer to him kissing her once more before letting out a small wince. He pulled back a pained expression on his face.

“Dean, what is it?” she questioned worriedly.

“I’m just a bit tender I guess,” he motioned to his abdomen. “It’s nothing to worry about.”

“Let me be the judge of that,” Deidra replied pulling back enough to slide off of the couch. She reached for his shirt, peeling open the buttons as he took in a small breath. Her eyes widened as his skin was revealed to her. He was perfect--truly breathtaking, but when her gaze fell upon where she’d stabbed him she felt a pang of guilt wash over her.

“I’m sorry,” she blurted out unable to contain herself. “I wish I hadn’t done that.”

“Hey, it’s okay,” Dean reached for her hand lifting it to his lips, “It’s the past.”

“Even so I wish I could take it back,” she mouthed leaning forward to place a small kiss over his chest. She ran her fingers tentatively over the smooth muscle beneath her touch, her kisses following gently, “I wish I could take it all back.”

“So do I,” Dean reached down to place his fingers through her dark hair. He felt her fingers drop down to his belt buckle unhooking it readily and he cleared his throat, “Hey I thought that you said that we weren’t supposed to fool around on a first date…”

“I said I didn’t put out on a first date,” Deidra replied teasing his pants open with a small, twisted smirk, “I never said anything about fooling around.”

“In that case,” he reached out to her drawing her up into his arms again and kissing her heatedly, “two can play that game.”

“I was fully intending upon it,” she mouthed diving in for another kiss as she found herself longing to explore all the newfound intimacy between her and Dean now that they were ready to start over again with one another.


“Thank you,” Diane smiled over at Ben finding herself grateful for the second chance that Ben had given her. “You have no idea how much it means to me to have you with me.”

“Only about as much as it means to me and besides I wanted to do something special for you since you were there for me when I needed you the most,” Ben explained pulling into the driveway of the house he had bought for the two of them, “I thought that this was a good start.”

Diane looked to the house with wide eyes, “Ben you brought me here?”

He nodded, “That’s right. I figured that tonight we’d have something special in our home Diane because that’s where we belong you know.”

“Oh Ben,” she squealed leaning in across the front seat to hug him excitedly, “I love you so much.”

“I love you beautiful,” he replied squeezing her in his arms, a smile lifting over his features. He kept her close to him taking in the sweet scent of her as his arms drew her in nearer to him, “Of course I have a surprise in there, so how about we go inside?”

“Seriously?” she replied before nodding quickly, “I’ll race you to the door.”

“I think I might let you win since I’m feeling a little weak still,” he teased seeing her rush out of the car. Unable to repress the smile that had taken over him, Ben thought about everything that had happened between them and he knew he was doing the right thing. Even if JT’s presence in Diane’s life may never go away, he knew in his heart that he couldn’t walk away from her. Stepping out of the car he followed her up to the house with a tiny chuckle, “You’re fast aren’t you?”

“Not really,” she shrugged her shoulders spinning around to face him again, “at least not any faster than I should be.”

“Hmm, well I might argue that point given how you pursued me relentlessly, but…” he felt her place her hand over his mouth to silence him.

“Given that you moved at a snail’s pace, I had to find a way to make up for it,” she explained matter of fact, “We even each other out if you think about it.”

“Yes we do,” he nodded in confession, “we really do.”

“So in that sense we’re perfect for one another,” she added brightly leaning up on her toes to kiss him before stepping back, “Now how about we go inside because it’s getting a little chilly out here and I missed this place?”

“Why don’t you open the doors,” he suggested handing her his keys. She quickly shuffled with them before popping the key in the lock. When the door opened up, he heard a small gasp fall from her lips.

“Oh my,” she glanced over her shoulder to look at him, “Ben, how did you…?”

“Let’s just say I phoned in a couple of favors,” he shrugged his shoulders following her into the house only to take pleasure in seeing the way her eyes lit up. She stepped further into the house taking a look at the candles that lit up the path before her. There were rose petals scattered on the floor leading up to the dining room where a romantic candle lit dinner was waiting for the both of them.

“But I don’t understand. When did you find the time to…” she trailed off casting a glance over her shoulder with heavy uncertainty.

“As I said I had a little time on my hands and a few friends who owed me a favor or two,” he explained casually stepping in behind her and wrapping her up in his arms, “You like?”

“Oh do I ever,” she nodded emphatically before tipping her head up to see him over her, “but I have to admit that I love you even more.”

“I love you which is why I want tonight to be the beginning for us. I want this to be the start of a second chance for us to be happy together. I know that there are things that we’ll have to deal with in regard to JT and…” he started with a small frown feeling her press her index finger over his lips to silence him.

“We’ll get back to that later, but for now, well let’s not talk about him or anyone else because I want tonight to be only about us,” she mouthed releasing her finger and replacing it with her lips over his as she vowed to enjoy every single second of this night with Ben sharing this time with him in their new beginning with one another.


Heather stood on the front porch of Chris’s new place on the water thinking about how nice this quiet spot actually was. It was classy and sophisticated, which were two very important traits Heather had felt Chris was lacking until now. Of course since it was a great place, Heather decided she didn’t mind paying Chris another visit. This time she’d brought dinner with her. Reaching out for the security keypad she’d typed in the code she’d seen him put in earlier and she reached for the door walking inside with a grin.

“Chris, I sure hope you’re here,” she blurted out hearing her footsteps echo through the foyer. Quickly kicking off her heels, she started down the hallway hearing small sounds from his library. She let out a small laugh remembering the fish tank he’d had in there, “Figures.”

She stepped in closer to the library ready to tell him about the great things she’d brought with her when she heard his voice from behind the half opened door. He had let out a small laugh and as Heather leaned forward to press the door open further she heard another unexpected sound.

“So what do you say,” Chris teased as Heather peered in to see him on the telephone. “Shall I put something on ice and prepare myself for a night of passion between the two of us? You know that you’re tempted to give in to this particular persuasion since it‘s been far too long for us already.”

Heather’s eyes widened as she leaned in further.

“Really,” Chris’s voice seemed to perk up as Heather noticed him sit up straighter, “excellent, then I’ll see to it that I’ll be in your favorite outfit when you get here--which if memory serves me correct would be, well nothing…unless of course you’d still like me to dig out that red ribbon and tie it in a bow for you.”

Another laugh followed before Chris let out a long sigh, “Okay Angel, then I’ll see you when you get here. Yes. It has been wonderful catching up. I’ve missed you too beautiful and I can’t wait to see you again. Sure thing sexy,” he finished hanging up the phone as Heather cleared her throat to alert him to her presence.

“My you are a shameful flirt, aren’t you?” she blurted out watching him spring out of the chair he’d been seated in, “And here I thought that all your affections and indecent proposals were solely directed at me.”

“Heather I um…” Chris cleared his throat uneasily eyeing her as if he was a deer stuck in the headlights. He cleared his throat again before rubbing his hands together in front of him, “hey what are you doing here? On second thought, don’t you knock?”

“Apparently I’m going to have to learn how to do so,” she noted crossing the library to set the bags she’d carried with her onto the coffee table, “especially since I wasn’t sure if I was walking in on a booty call or some kind of kinky phone sex, which hey if you’re into that’s fine and dandy but I really wouldn’t have wanted to catch wind of that right before dinner.”

“I’ll have you know that’s not at all what was going on--not that it’s any of your business,” he added scratching his head lightly, “I was just catching up with a friend and…”

“And judging by your tone and what you were saying, I’m sure that you’d like to be doing a lot more catching up with one another on an intimate level,” she wiggled her brow at him her eyes casting over him with a very thorough once over, “She must be something special.”

“She’s something very special,” he revealed with a small smile, “but unfortunately we’re just friends. That’s all we’ve been for a while now.”

“It doesn’t sound like you were laying out a friendly proposal there--unless of course you like to get naked for all of your friends,” Heather eyed him curiously noting the color that rose in his face.

“Well, I don’t make it a habit to do it for all of my friends, but if that’s an indecent proposal you’re working towards, I would be more than happy to get naked for you Heather if that would make you happy,” he wiggled his brow at her spinning the situation around.

“Hmm, and make Ms. Phone Sex feel like she’s just second best,” she let out a heavy sigh, “I would hate to do that to her. She thinks you’re only pining away for her.”

“I might be pining away for her, but that doesn’t mean I’m stupid,” Chris stepped in closer to her, “I’m well aware of the beautiful woman I have standing in front of me. I’d be a fool not to notice her.”

“And what makes you think that I’d want to get,” she reached out to him curling her finger over the center of his chest. She batted her eyelashes up at him a coy expression on her face as she scratched her nail lightly over him, “naked with you given your inclination to whisper sweet nothings to some mystery woman on the phone?”

“Because I can promise you if you did give into the inclination,” he leaned in closer to her, a smile ticking over the corners of his lips, “then I would give you a night that would make you forget all about that Dino you’re pining away over.”

“Diego,” she corrected curtly taking a step away from him, “and I have to tell you that it would take a lot for me to forget what kind of man Diego is. He’s every woman’s fantasy and he knows how to make a woman feel like she’s something special.”

“And what am I? Chopped liver?” he blurted out seeing her open her mouth as if she was going to dish out an answer, “On second thought, don’t tell me. Let’s just forget this conversation altogether and let’s get back to the matter at hand. Let’s talk about that dinner you’ve brought with you.”

“Well I hope you love Chinese because that’s what I was in the mood for,” she explained redirecting her attention to the bags she’d carried in, “I got a little bit of everything since I was feeling like a change…”

“Hmm, well you’re in luck because I happen to love Chinese and beautiful company as yourself too,” he moved in beside her catching the look she gave him.

“There you go back to flirting again,” she shook her head at him, “Can you go for five minutes without trying to charm a woman?”

“Hmm, well I can’t think of a moment when I’ve tried, but then again I really wouldn’t want to,” Chris shrugged his shoulders before motioning to the table, “Now how about I get some plates and chopsticks then we can enjoy this meal you brought for us?”

“I think that sounds like a plan,” Heather nodded up at him watching his exit from the room. Okay, as much as she hated to admit it, he did make quite an exit given that the view from behind was…

“Don’t you even think it,” she warned herself wondering who he had been on the phone with. Somehow while Chris was flirty she hadn’t at all thought that he’d had someone in his life. He seemed to be that single guy who was always throwing out bad lines and no one was biting, yet given the way his voice had sounded when she’d stepped into the room, she was certain there was someone who sparked a fire inside of him. Despite the fact that Heather was certain she didn’t really care about his after hours activities since she’d only needed him to help her win Diego back over, she tried to not reflect upon it. Of course it didn’t really hurt to know what her partner in crime was wrapped up in. Then again, if she pushed the issue she knew she could come off as a jealous person, which she was certain that would only spark Chris’s further interest thinking he had a shot with her. He’d want to find a way to win her over and she most certainly couldn’t have that. Diego was the grand prize and he was, well he was just Chris.

“Ready for a night of adventure and excitement?” Chris questioned breaking through her thoughts and holding up the chopsticks in his hand.

Heather smiled up at him sweetly, “Hmm since I can’t have all that, I’m more than willing to settle for dinner with you.”

“In that case I shall cherish the opportunity to try to make you see all the reasons why you’re wrong about thinking that this night will be any less than exciting. By the time I’m finished with you Heather, you will be singing my praise and falling head over heels in love with me. Just you watch,” he winked at her before grinning in what she thought must’ve been his best attempt at seduction.

“Fat chance Chris, but if you want to keep trying, go right ahead,” she laughed lightly knowing that tonight would be very interesting indeed. Perhaps somewhere along the way she’d learn a little bit more about the man who was promising to help her get back the one thing that she wanted more than anything in the world--Diego!


“Can I come in?” Kevin knocked on Angela’s bedroom door lightly as he heard a rustling coming from behind it. “Angie?”

“Come on in Kevin,” Angela called out, hearing Kevin open the door and take a step inside. She walked over towards her dresser pulling some things out before walking back over to the bed where her suitcase was. “What is it?”

“What are you doing?” Kevin questioned taking a step into her room, closing the door behind him. “I thought you said you weren’t going to Coral Valley.”

“Well, I guess I changed my mind,” she shrugged walking back and forth between her room, grabbing certain things she needed to pack. “Something just clicked inside of me and I realized I want to go.”

“Excuse me?” Kevin grabbed Angela’s wrist in his hand as he pulled her in towards him. She was moving back and forth so fast, he was having a hard time keeping track of her. “What made you change your mind?”

“Well, I was talking to Chris and…” Angela began seeing the look on Kevin’s face as she mentioned Chris’s name.

“Chris? Chris made you change your mind?” Kevin repeated seeing the look behind her eyes as he spoke. He shook his head slowly before letting go of her wrist. “I can’t believe you. You listen to that little prick over your best friend? Or is he your best friend now because I seem to no longer be the best friend around here.”

“Kevin,” Angela frowned, feeling him placed his index finger over her lips gently to make her stop talking.

“Don’t Kevin me, this loser has gotten you in trouble time and time again. Do I have to remind you how many times I had to get you out of jail because of him?” Kevin’s eyebrows tensed in anger as Angela looked away from him. He slipped his finger under her chin, forcing her to look at him as he spoke. “Angie, he knows nothing about you now. No one knows you better than me--no one. So, for once would you just understand that you should stay home. It’s not good for you to travel Angie.”

“Stop it Kevin,” Angela pulled away from him, shrugging her shoulders as she went back over towards her briefcase. “Chris didn’t make me do anything. I decided this on my own. I am going to Coral Valley Kevin and there is nothing you can do or say to stop me. So, I suggest you pack some bags and go with me or you can stay on the island. The choice is yours. Plain and simple.”

“You have to be kidding me,” Kevin groaned, walking over towards her bed and falling back against it. “You are so hard to understand sometimes. I just don’t get you. I tell you that I don’t think something you are doing is right and then do you listen to me? No. You just start in your little whiny voice saying I’m going to do what I want to do. I’m in charge of my life, but when it comes to your life Kevin--I’ll make your choices. When you try to help me Kevin, I don’t want to listen.”

“Please, that’s far from the case,” Angela grabbed a shirt to change into before pulling her other shirt off. She threw it at Kevin, watching as it landed over his head. “You know the truth is so much further than that.”

“Yeah, right,” Kevin stood up from the bed, walking over towards her as he looked her over. “I have to admit Angie, you don’t look good.”

“Excuse me?” Angela questioned with a gasp, feeling Kevin get behind her and rest his hands on her hips gently. “What do you mean by that?”

“What I mean is,” Kevin moved her forward towards the mirror, running his hands in over her bare stomach. He caressed her stomach gently as he let out a small frown. “You are lacking on the weight. When you were pregnant before you were a horse. Now you’re having twins and you are a skinny mini.”

“I was a horse,” she looked back at Kevin seeing him shrug his shoulders as he spoke. “I find that a little rude.”

“Well, you were pregnant with one child back then and now you’re pregnant with two. I think we should make a doctor’s appointment for you before you even consider getting off the island,” Kevin began, feeling her elbow him in the ribs gently.

“Nice try Kevin,” Angela walked over towards the bed, grabbing her shirt and pulling it on as she saw Kevin frown. “I know I am going to be okay for now. Anyways, maybe you are gaining the weight I am supposed to be gaining.”

“What?” Kevin questioned with a small frown, his eyebrows tensing as he looked back at her. “I am not fat.”

“I don’t know,” Angela shrugged, seeing Kevin quickly pull his shirt off as he looked at himself in the mirror. She let out a small laugh, seeing him throw his shirt to the bed as he ran his fingers over his abs slowly. “It may be all those pancakes you have been eating lately.”

“I’ve been working out like crazy--I think my abs look fine,” Kevin protested with a small frown, running his fingers over the hard muscle in his abdomen. “I still have an eight pack, so why are you telling me I am fat?”

“I was kidding you idiot,” Angela chuckled seeing the way that Kevin looked back at her over his shoulder. “Can’t you take a joke? I mean, really.”

“I’m going to get you for that later,” Kevin frowned shaking his head slowly as he flexed his bicep, looking at himself in the mirror. “I think I look really good.”

“Yeah, right,” Angela threw a pillow at Kevin, hitting him in the back of the head with it. “Now come help me pack before your ego gets too big.”

“What if I said I didn’t want to help you pack?” Kevin questioned, feeling her throw an empty luggage bag at him.

“Oh well,” Angela shrugged letting out a small laugh as Kevin frowned at her. “You still have to do it anyways.”


“So, how are you feeling right now?” Chase asked Trisha as they walked out of the café after getting their coffees. “Excited? Scared? Hate me?”

“No, I don’t hate you,” Trisha laughed, walking down the sidewalk as Chase walked next to her. “I feel kind of weak in the knees. From excitement, it’s a good feeling of weak in the knees. I think I like it.”

“The whole weak in the knees thing is going to be there for the first couple of times,” Chase informed her with a small smile as he reached his left hand up to push his hair back behind his ear. “Eventually it’s the thrill that makes it all worth it.”

“I can’t wait to do it again with you Chase,” Trisha began with a small sigh as she looked over at him with a smirk. “I have never felt so fresh, so…”

“Scared out of your mind?” Chase offered up with a small laugh seeing her shrug her shoulders before letting out a small laugh. “I think you would have killed me at the beginning if you could have.”

“Maybe, I doubt that, but maybe,” she laughed, seeing the way his blue eyes looked into hers. “After it was finished I realized how cool it really was and I can’t wait to do it again.”

“So, you do want to go on another date with me?” he questioned with a small smirk seeing her nod slowly as he let out a small laugh.

“Of course I do,” Trisha answered with a small nod, seeing the way Chase looked away from her and down towards the ground. “There is something about you Chase Hastings that I find amazing. I really like you.”

“Good,” Chase smiled widely, looking into her dark eyes. “I think I like something about you too Trisha Merhan. Actually, I think there is more than just one thing I like about you Trisha. I’m very glad that I met you.”

“Me too,” Trisha sighed, realizing they were now standing in front of Ria’s place. “Well, this is my place. I guess you can call me or I’ll call you.”

“Yeah,” Chase nodded slowly letting out a small laugh as he leaned forward to press a small kiss on her cheek lightly. “One of us will end up calling. “I’ll try to call you tomorrow night--if that’s alright?”

“That’s perfect,” she waved goodbye walking over towards the front doors of the building before turning around to look back at him. “I had a great time with you Chase and I can’t wait to do this again.”

“Have a good night Trisha,” Chase winked, making sure that she got in carefully before walking away.

“Oh my,” Trisha placed her hand over her chest as she let out a small sigh. She walked up to Ria’s apartment before letting out a small laugh and opening the door.

“Trisha?” Ria looked back at Trisha with a small frown as she paused the tape and looked back at Trisha who shut the front door behind her. “What are you doing here? I thought you had a date to go on?”

“I did, I told him I lived here,” Trisha informed Ria with a small sigh, walking over to the couch and sitting down on the couch slowly. “I couldn’t really let him know where I lived.”

“So, you let him believe you lived here? At my place?” Ria questioned seeing Trisha nod slowly as Ria rolled her eyes. “You are weird.”

“I know, but what can I say?” Trisha shrugged, noticing the picture on the screen before her. “What in the world is that?”

“Me and Kevin on Halloween when we were younger,” Ria answered with a small smile as she pushed play on the remote. “Cute isn’t it?”

“Yeah, you say I’m the one that is weird,” Trisha rolled her eyes, leaning back against the couch as she looked at the screen before them. “Kevin looked so small back then.”

“I love him no matter what,” Ria pointed out with a small shake of her head as she looked back at Trisha with a small smile. “You want to tell me what happened while you were out?”

“It’s a long story,” Trisha laughed shaking her head slowly as Ria raised up to her elbows.

“Well, we have a while,” Ria stopped the tape before turning to face her little sister. “So, tell me absolutely everything that happened.”


“I can’t believe the nerve of that woman,” Blake frowned thinking back to Valerie’s arrival at the restaurant. Just thinking about the scene she’d made leading up to Ria decking her was more than enough to get Blake worked up as well, “When is she ever going to get a clue that it’s over with the two of you?”

“Probably when she gets the divorce papers, but even then I get the feeling we’re going to have trouble,” Seth hated to state the obvious, but it felt like each and every time he saw Valerie she slipped further into some state of delusion, “I honestly don’t know what’s happened to her.”

“She’s a nutcase,” Blake blurted out watching Seth push his key into the door, “Plain and simple I think she’s got some serious issues going on there.”

“Yeah, I don’t doubt that, but there was a point in time when she was a nice person,” Seth paused thinking back to his younger years, “Well maybe not, but still I know there was something I thought I liked about her.”

“Yeah I can guess,” Blake groaned inwardly thinking about how Valerie was always coming onto him, “She seemed like she was cheap and easy and girls like that always got attention when I was younger.”

“They might’ve, but not with me,” Seth replied honestly, “Although when Valerie and I were friends, she was nothing like this. She was just one of us having always put her friends first. I mean yeah she had dreams of being a big star, but it wasn’t like this.”

“Was that when you fell in love with her?” Blake couldn’t help but ask watching him slip the key into the lock of the apartment.

“Blake, I don’t know how many times I have to say this, but I wasn’t in love with her,” Seth pushed the door open before turning around to face her, “I know you think that I’m only saying that to make you feel better, but it’s the truth…”

“Then why is she holding on so hard,” she couldn’t help but ask him.

“Because I think she stopped being rational a long time ago,” he sighed heavily, “When she and I were around one another she was one of my closest friends. She was there for me at a time when I was upset over what had happened to Jade. She offered me a shoulder to cry on and I wasn’t like I am now. I was young and stupid and…”

“You fell for her, right?” Blake couldn’t help but ask her worries mounting.

“Yes I fell for her. I thought I cared about her--even thought that it might’ve been love, but it wasn’t anything even close to being love. I didn’t know what real love was until I met you,” he touched her cheek gently, “Blake, you were and are the only woman that makes me feel like I am on top of the world. I feel like when I’m with you I have almost everything I need in this world. You and Jade were and are the only people who truly understand me and love me for me. You and my sister are both the most important people in this world to me…”

“And yet Jade’s no longer here,” Blake sighed heavily thinking about the loss Seth had faced.

“No she’s not,” he replied poignantly, “But that doesn’t mean that I’m not going to do everything that I can to hold onto you. Valerie is my past. You are my future.”

“She just doesn’t seem to grasp that and as long as she’s your wife…” she shook her head letting out a small groan.

“She can think it all she wants but I swear to you as soon as I realized that she and I had tied the knot, I made a quick run to get the marriage annulled. It wasn’t something that I was particularly proud of or that I wanted. There I was a kid myself and the last thing I wanted to do was be married,” he slid his fingers into her hair gently, “and I’m glad that I waited to want that because I wasn’t ready for any of that until now…”

“Yes, but what happened back then is keeping us from having that now,” Blake sighed heavily her heart sinking at the thought of the wedge that Valerie had put between them.

“Hey, we’re working towards having it all,” Seth curled his finger underneath her chin, “I mean hey the way I see it, you and I are making a great start towards having that family we’re wanting.”

“I know,” she smiled up at him lightly, “and believe me I’ve been enjoying that.”

“Then how about we try to focus on that right now instead of Valerie,” Seth decided kissing her gently before pulling her into the apartment with him. “What do you say?”

“I say it’s an excellent start for us in forgetting all about that woman,” she nodded in confession sliding her arms around his shoulders. She took a step forward into the apartment feeling something beneath her foot and she stumbled forward into his arms. “What the…”

“Blake, are you okay,” Seth questioned worriedly his eyes falling to the floor where Blake had tripped. There before them were scattered photos that now spread out all over the carpet.

“What in the…” Blake detangled herself from his arms bending down to pick one up. What she saw made her frown. There one after another were pictures of Valerie and Seth with one another with a note attached to them. Blake tipped her head up to look at Seth reading the note aloud, “I know you can’t forget this and neither can I.”

“Blake, she’s desperate,” Seth offered up bending down to help clean up the mess Valerie had left for them.

“I’ll say,” Blake’s eyes narrowed at the picture of Seth and Valerie with one another clearly taken at the beach. Valerie was clad only in a skimpy bikini as Seth sat beside her an arm around her slender waist. As Blake turned her attention to another photo she could see the laughter behind Seth’s eyes as he held onto Valerie. “Seth…”

“It’s the past Blake,” he pulled the photo from her hand seeing the pain that flashed behind her eyes. “These are nothing.”

“They don’t look like nothing,” she replied doing her best to contain her jealousy at the idea of Valerie sharing something with Seth.

“Well they are,” Seth collected all of the photos ripping them in half before rising to his feet. “Valerie isn’t a part of the picture for me anymore. She’s the last woman in this world I want to be with. You should know that by now.”

“I do, but…” Blake trailed off watching him move to throw away the photos. She noticed one on the floor that they’d overlooked and as she pulled it up, she eyed it for a long moment wondering if Valerie would truly be able to find a way to screw things up for her and Seth. Granted Blake believed him when he told her that she was the only woman for him, yet given Blake’s track record when it came to happiness, she feared that Valerie could be the one element who could send her world crashing down around her once again stealing happiness from her life all over again.


Cori pounded on the front door to Dave’s house not caring who she woke up or what attention she was bringing to herself from Dave’s neighbors. After Diego had pretty much obliterated her heart, she found herself enraged in ways that she hadn’t thought possible considering how much she’d given to their relationship. Not only had he made a fool of her in public again and again, but he dumped her for the twit who clearly didn’t care about anyone or anything other than herself. She pounded on the door again ready to go for another round when the door opened and she saw Carly standing before her.

“Cori, what’s wrong,” Carly questioned seeing the tears pouring down Cori’s face. She opened the door wider to invite her inside, “Oh honey, what is it?”

“I hate men!” Cori shouted in a high pitched squeal, “Every single miserable one of them. All they care about is the slut who will give them what they want. They don’t care about substance or anything worthwhile in a relationship. They want what they can’t have and what they do have, well let me tell you they treat that like it’s nothing. I mean really, what’s so wrong with me? Do you see anything wrong with me because I most certainly didn’t see anything wrong with me. I thought I was a great girlfriend. No, a better than great girlfriend and what do I get for it? Does he see how special I am? Does he treat me like I should be cherished? No of course not because some bimbo walks by whining about all her emotional issues and there he goes ready to be her stepping stool and he can’t even see what a witch she truly is. She’s using him and he’s clueless. He’s not only clueless, but he’s also giving up the best thing that’s ever happened to him…”

“I take it you and Diego are fighting right now, huh?” Carly couldn’t help but conclude from Cori’s rambling.

“Fighting implies that we’re having some kind of disagreement that we can somehow pick up the pieces from and work it out. What’s going on with Diego and I is horrible,,” Cori continued to sob harder than before. “I mean what is so wrong with me that he can’t see how good we have it together? What did I do that was so wrong other than loving him? Here I gave him everything and how does he thank me? I’ll tell you how he thanks me. He broke up with me.”

“What?” Carly’s eyes widened in surprise, “But I thought things were going so well.”

“I did too, but then that bitch stepped in and she manipulated him into thinking that he didn’t need me and now…” Cori felt her words trembling as she looked to Carly with a pained expression. “What am I going to do?”

“Oh honey, I’m sure we’ll find something,” Carly reached out to embrace Cori. “If he isn’t smart enough to see how great he had it with you, then he’s the fool.”

“But why? Why did it have to be like this Carly? I thought that he loved me. He told me he loved me and that we had a future with one another. He let me believe that I was someone special, but now…” Cori broke down unable to contain the pain that swept over her.

“Sweetheart, why don’t you come with me into the kitchen? I’ll put on some tea and we can talk for a while. Maybe it will help,” Carly suggested hating to see Dave’s sister so upset. “Dave will be home in a little while, so if you’d like to talk to him, then you can.”

“I actually came over to see you. I don’t really have anyone else in this town that I can talk to and I figured that you might understand since you know what it’s like dealing with idiot men,” Cori mouthed with an emphatic sigh, “I just don’t understand why Diego wouldn’t just give us a chance.”

“He’s a fool Cori and I’m sorry that he broke your heart,” Carly replied supportively hating to see Dave’s sister in such an uproar. As she walked with Cori over to the kitchen, she realized it was going to be a long night. She just hoped that somehow she would be able to help Cori through the loss she was experiencing right around now that Diego had shattered Cori’s dreams of a happily ever after to bits.


“Hey, hold on a minute,” Kyle laughed, pulling away from Sarah as she started to kiss him more roughly. “Remember what I said? Take things slow.”

“Sorry,” Sarah frowned, running her hand over his muscular shoulders gently. “I just missed you so very, very much Kyle.”

“Diego,” Kyle spotted Diego at the other side of the hallway before smiling. Kyle motioned Diego to come over by him and Sarah as he let out a small smile. “I haven’t talked to you in a while Diego? How are you doing?”

“Oh, I’ve been better,” Diego replied, seeing Kyle reach his hand out to shake Diego’s lightly. “How about you? How are you feeling Kyle?”

“Well, worried I guess,” Kyle answered with a small shrug of his shoulders. “This whole thing with Avery and Russ. Erin being born…”

“It must be pretty hard on you,” Diego pointed out, seeing Kyle shrug his shoulders as he spoke. Diego folded his arms out in front of his chest, feeling a bit uncomfortable as he looked at Kyle and Sarah before him.

“Well, I’m living,” Kyle stated with a small laugh, shrugging his shoulders as he spoke. “I guess that’s a good thing to say because well, I couldn’t have been here at one point in time.”

“And I don’t know what I would have done if I lost him,” Sarah wrapped her arms around Kyle’s torso as Kyle wrapped his arm around her shoulders slowly. “I’m so glad he is still here.”

“That makes two of us,” Diego glanced up at Kyle as he saw Kyle look down at Sarah. The way Sarah looked up at Kyle made him realize something else was going on between the two of them. “So, are the two of you back together now?”

“Uh, yeah,” Kyle nodded slowly, looking up at Diego with a small grin as he shrugged his shoulders. “We talked things over and we came to decision. We are going to try and make this relationship work.”

“Congratulations,” Diego offered up with a fake smile, feeling like there was a dagger getting stabbed into his chest. Diego’s dark eyes met Sarah’s as Diego looked away from her. “So you both came up with the idea?”

“It was more Sarah that had the idea,” Kyle answered, feeling her hold onto him tighter as he looked down at her. “She thinks this relationship might be able to work, so I say--why not? We can give it a try.”

“Wow, that’s really good news,” Diego frowned, seeing the way that Sarah looked up into Kyle’s eyes. “Really, really good news. I‘m happy for the both of you.”


Jenna took note of the time wondering what the hold up with Hart was. He’d been brief in telling her that something had come up and Don needed to see him for a while, but he really hadn’t explained that it would take all day long. They had talked about doing something around the apartment--possibly planning what came next in terms of living arrangements since clearly Jenna’s apartment was going to be too small for a family, yet when Don had called Hart promised they would have to rain check on that talk. Now hours later Jenna found herself bored beyond belief.

“This is pathetic,” she groaned inwardly trying to remember when she’d be in a position where she’d waited around all day for a man to come around. Okay, so she’d taken a nap and caught up on checking her e-mail and a little work related reading, but now, well now it would’ve been nice to have Hart home since her days off were always so far and few.

She looked at the clock again before reaching for a magazine wondering if she should call Wayne and Sam since they’d mentioned they were thinking about coming by later. She’d told Wayne it wouldn’t be a problem because Hart would enjoy having them around, yet when Hart hadn’t come home, she was starting to wonder if having a small gathering was such a good idea. Reaching for the phone Jenna began to dial her brother when she heard a knock on the door.

“Finally,” Jenna hung up the phone ready to greet Hart when the doorbell rang. Okay, so maybe it wasn’t Hart. Maybe it was Wayne and Sam which meant with or without Hart Jenna was going to have to entertain. She could to this. After all she always had fun with her brother and with Sam lately.

“Hello,” Jenna opened the door to greet her company only to discover her mother on the other side.

“Jen,” Dorothy cleared her throat uneasily, “hey baby. Can I come inside?”

“Um, sure,” Jenna moved out of the way letting her mother into the apartment, “Mom what are you doing here?”

“I thought I’d pay you a visit since I haven’t seen you in a while. You never stop by anymore and you don’t call,” Dorothy frowned turning around to face her daughter, “so I figured I’d take it upon myself to check up on my little girl.”

“Well I’ve been busy,” Jenna answered feeling a bit guilty about not having taken the time to see her mother.

“Busy in general or with Hart,” her mother folded her arms in front of her chest expectantly.

“A little bit of both,” Jenna revealed, “Hart’s moving out of his condo and moving in here, so it’s been busy for us. Plus with work…”

“Were you planning on avoiding me forever?” Dorothy questioned with a small frown thinking about how she and her daughter had been anything, but close to one another lately. For most of Jenna’s life they had been the best of friends, but now to feel the wedge between them, it was a tad bit overwhelming.

“Mom, it’s not that it’s just…” Jenna shook her head a small sigh spilling from her lips, “Honestly it’s not worth getting into since I really should’ve called. Why don’t you sit down so we can catch up with one another?”

“I’d like that,” Dorothy smiled back at her, “I’ve missed you Jenna.”

“I’ve missed you too mom and you’re right it’s been far too long since I’ve had you over,” Jenna decided moving in to take a seat alongside her mother, “Wayne said he might be stopping by later so it’ll give us all an opportunity to catch up.”

“Is he back in town?” Dorothy questioned with obvious surprise, “I thought that he was going away for some research for a while.”

“I think he was, but he decided to return early,” Jenna shrugged her shoulders, “He was able to finish earlier than expected.”

“Hmm, well it would’ve been nice to know he was back. We could’ve had a family dinner and…” Dorothy began thinking it over.

“I’m sure we’ll have plenty of time for that,” Jenna added with a small smile, “I have a few days off next week coming up and I’m sure that we can all get together for something special.”

“That would be nice. It’s been so long since we…” Dorothy’s words trailed off when she noticed the book on top of the coffee table. Leaning forward she reached for it with a horrified expression. “What in the…”

“Mom I can explain,” Jenna started realizing that she hadn’t thought about tucking her parenting book away. Of course now that Dorothy saw that mixed with a few other pregnancy magazines Jenna knew she was in for it.

“Jenna, please don’t tell me that you’re…” Dorothy’s eyes widened horrified.

“Pregnant?” Jenna finished for her catching her mother’s expression, “Yes mom I am and if you’ve got a problem with it, then you’re going to have to get used to the idea.”

“Get used to the idea,” Dorothy repeated choking on her words, “Jenna do you have any idea what being pregnant entails?”

“I do,” Jenna nodded with a small smile, “and I have to tell you I can’t wait. I’ve seen Avery do it and she looks radiant.”

“Yes well that’s because she’s married and has a husband who…” Dorothy’s eyes widened further, “Oh Jen, please tell me that Hart isn’t the father. Please say that you and Devante reconnected there and that this child is…”

“Mother!” Jenna gasped at her mother’s statement, “How can you say such a thing?”

“Because it would be the only way that this pregnancy will be good for you. You couldn’t possibly want to have a child with a man like Hart Steiner. He’s no good and he’s…” Dorothy started to rant.

“Nothing like my father was, so why don’t you do us both a favor and stop this rant before it starts?” Jenna suggested knowing full well that right now she didn’t want to get into it with her mother about Hart. If her mother didn’t like it, then that was too bad because Jenna wasn’t about to change her life because her mother didn’t like it.


“What’s taking your friend so long,” Russ frowned thinking about Deana’s promise to get him back inside to see Avery, “She said that she’d be right back and…”

“And I’m positive that she’s doing her best working on whatever it is that she has up her sleeve. She told us to wait and I think we can trust her to give us what we need to get back in there,” Grady decided feeling a renewed faith for his latest ally.

“I hope you’re right,” Russ rubbed his palms together thinking about the damage that Brant could do while Russ was out here trying to find a way back to Avery. Knowing full well what the Ashfords were capable of had Russ more than on edge.

“There you are son,” Elliot called out to Russ pulling him out of his daze. He turned to see his father and mother approaching.

“Mom, I thought you were with Erin,” Russell frowned slightly.

“Your father came to the nursery looking for you and when I told him how upset you were, he thought we should find you. Guy is still with her,” Cheryl explained simply, “He and Mindy are staying at her side and no one else is going to be able to get near her until we come back.”

“I just can’t believe that this is happening,” Russ threw his hands up in the air before looking to his father, “Did mom tell you what that son of a bitch did? He lied and made me think that Erin was kidnapped so that he could place a guard on Avery’s door and keep me out of there!”

“I can’t believe this,” Elliot’s features darkened, “Of all the deceitful, evil things…”

“Oh come on dad. Let’s face it. Everything you ever said about the Ashfords was right. They are all liars. They manipulate, steal, cheat and hell they would even commit murder if it got them what they wanted and where they wanted to be,” Russell’s gaze traveled over to Avery’s door wondering what it was that Brant was doing inside to pervert her mind even if she was still unconscious. If there was a way to turn Avery against Russ, then Russ was determined to believe that Brant could and would do it. “When I think of everything that family has done thus far…”

“Son, I promise you that they won’t get away with this,” Elliot insisted firmly hating to see his son so upset.

“Emotions are running wild right about now. I’m sure that Brant is just as up in the air as you are. I’m not saying what he’s doing is right, but he’s been living as Avery’s husband since almost the time you left. He’s probably confused and upset himself and…” Cheryl tried to be the voice of reason to her son.

“No mom, you have no idea what that family has done to me--what they are still trying to do, but I swear to you with God as my witness I will do whatever it takes to destroy every last one of them if they keep thinking they can keep me from Avery and Erin,” Russell vowed raw hatred burning in his tone as Deana reappeared wiggling her finger towards Russ and Grady.

“She’s back,” Grady pointed her out. “Come on. Let’s go see what she came up with.”

“Okay,” Russ threw out an apologetic expression to his parents, “I have to go do this. I have to stop the Ashfords from ruining my life. I’m sorry.”

“Russ wait,” Cheryl stepped forward feeling an ache inside of her at the way her son was fueled by his rage. She closed her eyes knowing that things were only getting more complicated by the moment.

“And here you thought that now would be a good time to tell him,” Elliot shook his head at the thought, “That would kill him Cheryl. It would do him in for sure.”

“I was just trying to help. I thought that maybe if he knew the truth--if they all knew the truth, then they could reach some kind of understanding within themselves,” she confessed spinning around to face her husband, “I thought it might make them be reasonable somehow.”

“There’s nothing reasonable about that family,” Elliot blurted out with a huff, “Can’t you see what this is already doing to our family? What this situation is doing to Russ?”

“I know, but Elliot if they were able to see this with a different spin on things,” she stammered choked up in the moment.

“Can’t you see how much Russ hates Brant? Russ had a happy life--a good life, but that was stolen from him. He comes home after having to endure things that I’m sure we’ll never know about and he gets this. He finds out that Avery is married to Brant and Brant is doing everything in his power to exploit the situation. He’s not going to just let Avery be with Russ simply because we wish it so. He’s going to be just like his father and try to cling onto something that he can’t have--something that was never meant to be his!”

“This isn’t the same situation,” Cheryl saw a flicker of anger and pain in her husband’s eyes, “This isn’t like then.”

“You’re damn right it’s nothing like then and it won’t become anything like that was because I won’t allow it to get out of control. I’m not going to let Russ fall like I did,” Elliot continued shaking his head at her, “He doesn’t deserve what happened and I can’t let that haunt him. I can’t let my son have the one thing he’s holding onto blow up in his face. He’s not ready for any of this.”

“None of us are Elliot, but if it can help him with Avery--if it can help him find his way back to her,” Cheryl added curling her fingers at her side, “If there’s a chance…”

“No!” Elliot snapped back at her, “There’s no chance and like I said before you would be best suited to leave that where it belongs--in the past. Cheryl I know that it’s hard for you to be dealing with all of this because you and I have been blaming ourselves for months about what happened to Russ, but now is not the time. There will never be a time for this. Brant is the enemy and that’s the only way Russ is going to see it. It’s the only way I ever want him to see it.”

“But Elliot we both know…” she began again her words coming out a bit shaky.

“He’s my son Cheryl and he’s going to do like I taught him. He’s not going to stand back and let someone destroy the only love he’s ever known. I wouldn’t do it, so why would I expect anything less from him,” Elliot cut her off abruptly knowing full well that the last thing Russ needed was anymore entanglements with Brant Ashford especially now when so much was on the line there.


“Shh, it’s okay sweetheart,” Brant whispered feeling Avery sink into his arms. Her tears had died down, but now that he held her on the bed he felt her collapse into him giving herself over completely to the warmth and protection of his arms.

“I had this horrible dream,” she revealed clinging onto him with her eyes closed, “I was trapped--Bruce was back and he had me held hostage. I was so afraid I’d never see you again because he was trying to kill me and my baby. He wanted to kill my daughter and…”

Avery’s eyes snapped open as her hand pressed in against her abdomen. Suddenly a fear washed over her. She tipped her head up to Brant, her dark eyes filled with a sudden horror. She started to shuffle a bit on the bed, her worries mounting as Brant tried to keep his hold on her.

“Avery, she’s okay,” he promised still holding her in his arms, “You are okay and your daughter is fine. You gave birth to a beautiful, healthy little girl.”

“You mean she’s…” Avery’s eyes clouded over with tears again, “You mean that I didn’t imagine it?”

“No, you didn’t imagine it,” he promised with a small smile wiping at her tears, “She’s a beautiful little girl just like her mother and she’s already worked her way into the hearts of everyone around her.”

“Oh Brant, when I had that dream I thought that…” she closed her eyes again feeling flashes of her dream coming over her. She could see Bruce--see herself being tied down to a bed…there were faces and voices and…

“Avery, it’s okay. Now that you’re awake everything is going to be okay. Bruce can’t hurt you anymore. He’s dead,” Brant explained smoothly seeing the way her face twisted with worry, “He’s never going to get the opportunity to get near you and Erin again.”

“Erin,” Avery’s eyes opened and another jolt of realization pressed in upon her, “In my dream I named her Erin. She was born after Bruce drugged me. After Kyle, Grady and Russ… No, that’s not possible. Russ couldn’t have been…”

Brant stiffened at the mention of his rival. While he knew full well he couldn’t hide the truth from Avery about her dead lover’s return to Coral Valley, he didn’t quite want to welcome the thought of him back into her mind just yet. He reached for her cheek urging her to meet his gaze again.

“Avery I love you and I promise you that I’m going to take you and Erin home. We’re going to have that life what we talked about with one another. We’re going to be a family now and…” Brant began seeing her blink as if struggling to grasp something in the back of her mind.

“It just felt so real--so powerful like it could be happening, but it couldn’t be,” she exhaled slowly, “Bruce drugged me and I was hallucinating. Maybe it was all a hallucination considering that…”

“Avery look at me,” Brant instructed watching her eyes reopen as he took in a small breath, “Avery I promise you that everything is going to be okay, but before we talk about what’s in front of us, we need to talk about the past…about us.”

“The past,” she repeated blankly seeing something flicker behind his eyes, “Brant what is it?”

“I’m afraid there’s no way around this. Avery I lied to you and I’m a horrible, horrible person for what I’ve done, but I can’t keep you in the dark any longer. I need you to know the truth about what I’ve done,” Brant explained drawing in another slow breath, “I’m afraid that I’ve failed you and I can’t keep up with the deception any longer. You deserve the truth.”

“The truth?” she repeated with a strange look, “What truth Brant?”

“The truth about the night we came home after our trip out to see Steven Davies,” Brant blurted out shamefully dropping his head down so that he wouldn’t see the confusion behind her eyes. He inhaled again feeling the breath burn deep into his lungs, “About the night I took you home when you were drunk…”

“What about that night,” Avery asked still not very clear on the situation he was speaking of.

“Avery, that night when I took you home, well, as much as I hate to admit it, something more happened between us,” Brant continued watching her face closely. If he was going to get it out, then he had to be direct about it. He couldn’t avoid the subject any longer. “Do you remember when I told you that you were drunk and I left you there after you passed out?”

“Vaguely,” Avery confessed straining to remember the event that he was telling her about, “Why? Why are you even bringing this up now?”

“Because there’s something I need you to know. Avery that night that I took you home you asked me to make love to you. You took me into the apartment and you tried to seduce me and the next day I told you that I left because I didn’t want to push you into something that you weren’t ready for, but that wasn’t altogether the truth. It was just that I was embarrassed about how I’d let myself get out of hand--about how I couldn’t resist you because you were everything that I wanted and…”

“And what?” her eyes widened as he trailed off. “Brant, what are you trying to tell me? What are you saying?”

“What I’m saying is that night I didn’t leave after you passed out. I was going to and I did for a split second, but after I thought about it, I was worried about you--really worried about the idea of leaving you alone, so I came back to the apartment to be with you,” Brant continued to explain, his dark eyes flickering with hints of guilt, “When I got to the apartment you were still sleeping and then before I knew it you were awake again and one thing lead to another and…”

“And what?” she questioned again in a pinched voice pulling herself up a bit in his arms.

“We were together that night at your apartment,” Brant blurted out in a shaky voice, “Despite the fact that I knew we should’ve waited because I‘d always promised you the world when we were finally together, something happened between us. You started kissing me and we started saying things--making promises to one another. One thing lead to another and we made love Avery.”


“Where do you think she just went?” Hart couldn’t help but ask pulling himself off of the floor after Shannon had knocked him down in her fury.

“I honestly don’t know,” Don coughed realizing that his wife was a woman possessed. While he’d tried to reason with her, he could see that reasoning was the last thing on Shannon’s mind. She was unhappy with him and there was going to be hell to pay for it afterwards.”

“I can’t believe you just let her walk out of here with those papers,” Hart huffed with an impatient scowl. “Do you have any idea how much trouble we’re going to be in if Shannon shows those to anyone else? It’ll be like an apocalypse around here.”

“Oh come on. It won’t be that bad,” Don tried to dismiss his friend’s worries, but he too was concerned about what would happen once Shannon spilled the beans on Don’s shocking find.

“Don you and I both know that the moment Shannon shows those to anyone else we’re going to be in some hot water. Each and every one of us is going to go down all because you can’t control your bitch of a wife,” Hart snapped at his friend disapprovingly.

“Hey, she’s not a bitch,” Don defended his wife catching Hart’s glare, “At least not most of the time. She just thinks she means well.”

“Yeah well whatever her intentions are, we have to find a way to stop her before this comes out and blows absolutely everything apart. You do realize that, don’t you?” Hart continued to rail into Don. “If you could have a little control over her rather than letting her walk all over you all the time, then maybe just maybe she wouldn’t be out there right now running around with those papers in her hand and…”

“Do you realize what you’re saying?” Don gulped in a moment of complete understanding. “Hart she’s out there with those papers while we’re in here arguing about her. She’s going to show them to someone and…”

“Don’t say it. Hell, forget about us arguing. Let’s get the hell out of here and stop her before she does something we’ll both live to regret by letting those results be known,” Hart rushed over to the door as Don followed.

“I’m right behind you,” Don mouthed praying that his wife wouldn’t do something so completely stupid that it would change life for almost everyone in Coral Valley from here on out!


...to be continued...