Episode 278

Dave opened up the front door to his house ready to take the time to relax with Carly, which as she’d pointed out time and time again was something that he hadn’t really been doing lately. He’d felt guilty about constantly running out on her like he’d been doing with work and Deidra’s problems, but today he was going to work on changing all of that. He looked to the bouquet of roses in his hand ready to make peace with his wife when he heard the sounds of sniffling from the kitchen area. He stood still for a moment, but it didn’t take long to figure out what he was hearing. It was Cori’s voice and given how she’d been crying, he realized it could only mean one thing. She had broken up with Diego.

With a heavy sigh Dave made his way over to the kitchen finding Carly and Cori seated by the table with two steaming mugs in front of them. Cori’s mug looked untouched as she continued to pour her heart out about, as Dave suspected, the man that had broken her heart this time.

“I just don’t get what I did that was so wrong,” Cori heaved in between sobs. “I was great to him. I gave him everything, but it wasn’t good enough for him. It never was good enough.”

“Cori, it wasn’t your fault. Diego was just too blind to see how wonderful he had it with you,” Carly tried to reason with her again, a sigh spilling from her lips as she looked up to see her husband standing in the doorway with roses in hand. Her dark eyes perked up even though she’d been listening to Cori’s tale of upset for a while, “Dave.”

“Hey sweetheart,” Dave motioned to her before moving in closer to take a long look at his sister, “Cori.”

“Dave,” Cori wiped at her face sitting up straighter and looking up at him, “hey I didn’t think you’d be home so soon.”

“I thought it was about time,” Dave glanced over at Carly offering up an apologetic expression before looking to his sister again, “So what’s going on Cori?”

“Diego and I broke up,” she admitted with a shivering exhale. “I just can’t believe it happened.”

“Why did it happen Cori?” Dave couldn’t help but ask not really sure how to respond to his sister’s latest emotional upset.

“They got into a fight over Sarah Marx,” Carly piped in explaining what Cori had told her thus far, “and after that Diego told her that it might be a good idea to call things quits.”

“Can you believe that?” Cori whimpered in response. “He wants to call it quits right after we shared the most romantic night in the world with one another. I told him all about how much I’d wanted to be with him--how I’d loved him for all those years, but once he got what he wanted out of me he dumped me. I gave him my everything and he tossed me aside like yesterday’s news in favor of that slut. What does she have that I don’t? I mean what makes her so damned special that she’s someone that he should run to? I mean yeah so what. She’s got the whole victim thing going for her, but really is that so much of a turn on that he’d throw away everything we’ve shared with one another? Did I mean so little to him?”

Before Dave could say anything Cori dropped her head down face forward on the table top and burst into another round of tears. Dave and Carly exchanged worried glances before Dave curled his finger at Carly motioning for her to walk over to him.

“I was going to call you and tell you she was here, but she was really upset,” Carly explained in a small whisper worried about Dave’s younger sister.

“I can see that,” Dave held out the roses for Carly, “I bought these for you so that you could have them for our night alone together, but that’s obviously not happening.”

“Not when she’s this upset,” Carly added glancing over at Cori. “I don’t know what to say to make this one better Dave. I’m trying, but she’s so upset.”

“Let me talk to her,” Dave suggested with a small sigh, “Go put those in water and give us a few minutes alone. Maybe I can help.”

“Okay,” Carly nodded glancing over at Cori once again, “I’m just going to go check on Kayla, but I’ll be back.”

“Okay Carly,” Cori’s muffled voice rose up from the table top. “Thank you for being here for me.”

“It’s no problem,” Carly offered up giving Dave one last look before walking out of the room knowing he had a lot on his plate now that Cori’s heart was shattered. She just hoped that somehow Dave could offer a pep talk that would help his sister heal from this latest wound to her heart.


“Careful sweetheart,” Kyle bit down on his bottom lip as he felt Sarah’s hand slip in over the side of his thigh where had been hurt. He grabbed her fingers in his, holding Sarah’s hand in his tightly. “That’s where I got hurt.”

“Sorry baby,” Sarah slid her hand in against Kyle’s stomach, feeling the strength of his body that she hadn’t been able to feel in quite a long time. “I didn’t know.”

“It’s alright,” Kyle shrugged his shoulder looking up at Diego who seemed to be just staring down at Sarah. “Are you okay Diego? It looks like something is bothering you.”

“No, everything is okay. I was just thinking about how you got hurt,” Diego lied, looking up into Kyle’s dark eyes. Kyle nodded slowly as Diego thought of something else to say. “So, how is it feeling? Your thigh that is.”

“It’s still really hurting, I mean I just got it the other day,” Kyle answered raising his right wrist up to look at the time. “I’ll be better soon though, it’s not going to stay there forever. Thanks for asking though, that was very nice of you.”

“No problem,” Diego shrugged seeing the way that Kyle slowly unwrapped his arm from Sarah’s shoulders.

“Where are you going?” Sarah frowned seeing Kyle take a step back away from her before looking over at Diego.

“I should really go check on Russ, I haven’t seen him in a while,” Kyle informed her with a small sigh as he reached his hand out to Diego’s. “It was nice to see you again Diego, maybe we could hang out sometime.”

“Sure,” Diego shook Kyle’s hand slowly before letting go and watching Kyle take a step in closer to Sarah, bending down to kiss her cheek gently. “That sounds great.”

“Alright,” Kyle smiled, kissing Sarah on the cheek once more before taking a few steps back. “I’ll catch the both of you later. If you need me, you know where to find me.”

“Bye Kyle,” Diego waved seeing Kyle turn down one of the hallways before he turned to face Sarah. “So, I am going to take it you two are definitely back together now.”

“About that,” Sarah paused for a long moment seeing the way that Diego’s saddened dark eyes looked into hers. “Kyle really thought we should do this. He thought that we should start over and try this all over again.”

“Really?” Diego questioned seeing Sarah nod slowly as he looked down towards the ground. “Well, Kyle is a lucky man. I’m happy for you Sarah. You got everything you wanted.”

“Diego,” she frowned, reaching out to touch his arm as he pulled away from her slowly.

“Hey, it’s okay. Don’t feel bad for me because you have nothing to feel bad about,” he assured her with a small shake of his head, “I mean you’re happy, that’s what counts.”

“I guess so,” she pondered the answer for a moment before holding her hands up in the air. “So, what happened between you and psycho?”

“By that, I’m guessing you’re talking about Cori,” Diego stated seeing Sarah nod slowly as he shrugged his shoulders. “I broke off everything I had with Cori. You see I can’t be with someone I can’t give my whole heart to. I couldn’t leave her in the dark--I couldn’t keep lying to myself about her. So, I decided it was time to be fair and try to change things. Try to give my real love to the person I truly love the most.”

“Diego, you know,” Sarah reached out to touch his arm, feeling him pull away from her once more like she was burning him with her very touch. “Diego, please…”

“It’s okay, I just didn’t think our relationship was good enough to last. Mine and Cori‘s that is,” he informed her with a small nod before pointing down the hallway. “I have some work I need to get done with, so if you will excuse me…”

“Diego, come on,” Sarah grabbed Diego’s hand before he could walk away from her. She saw the way that he looked back at her before she let go of his hand. “Can we at least talk for a minute?”

“Some other time,” Diego started to walk away from her before shrugging his shoulders. “Buzz me one day when Kyle isn’t home. I have some things I need to finish.”

“Diego,” Sarah called out one last time before seeing him disappear down the hallway. She fell back to the chair she was in earlier before letting out a deep breath. “Great.”


“So what’s the story?” Grady questioned after Deana had pulled him and Russ aside to speak with her.

“Things have hit a bit of a snag,” she frowned at both of them, “Not only are the security guards kissing up to Brant, but so is the Chief of Staff since it turns out the Ashfords have offered this hospital more money than anyone can even begin to imagine. No one wants to budge on this issue for fear of what it will mean where the Ashfords are concerned.”

“So in other words you’re telling me that I’m screwed when it comes to seeing my wife,” Russ snapped back at her unable to quell the rising frustrations inside of him. “This is just wonderful. It keeps getting better and better.”

“I’m sure you can get in there. I mean we can make it happen, right Deana,” Grady looked to her encouragingly. “You’re not saying it’s hopeless, right?”

“I’m saying that if we do it, we’re probably going to have to bend a few rules and perhaps step on some toes in the process,” she explained matter of fact, “I mean I know it’s not what you were hoping for, but I’m sticking my neck out on this one. Being the new gal around here isn’t exactly working in my favor and…”

“Hey, I appreciate your help. I’m sorry if it seems like I don’t,” Russ began apologetically knowing that Deana was doing her best to help him. “I just hate the idea that the Ashfords can just want something to be so and it just has to be that way. There’s something seriously wrong about that.”

“I realize that which is why I’m sure if we put our heads together we can find a way to fix this,” Grady added watching Deana’s face light up.

“I think I’ve got it,” she blurted out quickly, “I think I know how to get you in there with Avery.”

“What do you have in mind?” Russ questioned turning to face her. He saw her dark eyes light up and in that moment he had a feeling she was onto something good.

“Well, as I said before we’d be breaking a few rules and this one will probably wind up breaking more than a few, but I think we can pull it off. With a little help and a promise that if you get caught I didn’t take part in any of this, I can not only promise you that you can get in to see Avery, but you can do so in such a way that no one on staff here will question it,” she explained matter of fact exchanging looks with Grady.

“I think I know where this is headed,” Grady couldn’t help but blurt out a smile spreading over his face.

“What is it?” Russ couldn’t help but ask looking between the two of them.

“Don’t worry Russ. I’m sure we will fix this,” Deana spoke up encouragingly.

“And if she’s really onto something like she claims to be, then I’m sure we’ll have you in there in a very short time,” Grady blurted out ready to get wrapped up in the plot to reunite his brother with Avery. While Grady wasn’t quite sure what Deana had on her mind, there was something about the expression on her face that had Grady believing that she was about to pull off something that neither he nor Russ would ever forget!


“I can’t believe this is happening all over again. Those damned Ashfords are doing it again!” Elliot snapped pacing around the hallway as he looked to Cheryl. “They can’t just be satisfied with ruining one person’s life, but rather they have to destroy each and every one of us around them.”

“Elliot, you need to calm down,” Cheryl touched her husband’s arm gently. “This isn’t going to help anything for you to go off like this considering that…”

“No, I’m not going to calm down Cheryl!” he snapped at his wife glaring over at her. “I’m not going to stand here and pretend that everything is going to be okay especially when Brant Ashford is working like crazy to hurt my son--our son Cheryl. Can’t you see what he’s doing is killing Russ? It’s like history is repeating itself all over again here and I can’t just sit idle and let it be that way.”

“This is all my fault,” Cheryl replied painfully, “If I would’ve just been stronger, then none of this would be happening. If I could’ve just done things right all those years ago…”

“Cheryl,” Elliot turned to his wife ready to say something more when he noticed the tears that overtook her. Guilt suddenly poured out over him and he felt an ache inside of him at getting her so upset. He stepped in closer to her reaching out to embrace her, “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to act like a jerk, but…”

“You’re worried about Russ and I understand where this is coming from,” she tipped her green eyes up to look at him, “You’re just afraid for our son and so am I. He wouldn’t have ever been in this position if I hadn’t done the things that I’ve done Elliot. I know that now and…”

“And that isn’t relevant to the here and now. What Brant’s done…” Elliot shook his head at the thought, “I hate it, but I have to be strong for Russ. We both do and if we fall apart now…”

“I know,” she nodded with a small sniffle, “I’m just so afraid for him--for everyone…”

“So am I,” he embraced his wife saying a silent prayer that things would find a way to work themselves out. He opened his mouth to say something more when he spotted Shannon out of the corner of his eye.

“Elliot. Cheryl,” she called out to them with an anxious expression on her face, “Have either one of you seen Russ around here?”

“He was just here with Grady a minute ago,” Elliot replied giving her a curious look, “Why what’s going on?”

“I need to talk to him right away,” Shannon explained hurried, “I have something to tell him and I need to tell him as soon a possible. You have to help me find him because it simply cannot wait.”

“Like I said he just went off with Grady in that direction,” Elliot pointed towards where his son had gone off, “but if you…”

“Thanks Elliot,” Shannon replied quickly rushing off in the hopes of finding Russ and letting him in on the secret that her husband so desperately wanted to keep from him and everyone else.


“What?” Avery blinked up at him finding herself in a state of confusion. His words hit her like a ton of bricks and as she looked up at him she couldn’t help but shake her head at his confession, “No Brant. We couldn’t have. We wouldn’t have. There’s no way that…”

“Think about it Avery,” Brant touched her cheek gently feeling her pull away from him. He reached for her still keeping her in his arms as she refused to face what he was telling her, “You and I almost made love at that hotel, so why is it so far off for you to believe that we gave into passion at your apartment?”

“Because we wouldn’t. We couldn’t have. I wouldn’t have…” Avery trailed off her mind flashing with flickers of memory from that night at her apartment.

“We’re home,” Brant announced slowly setting Avery to her feet again as they stood at the door outside her apartment. She leaned up against the wall, tipping her head back as a slow moan spilled over her lips.

“Already,” she groaned in protest, “I was just starting to have a good time.”

“There will be plenty of time for a good time,” Brant assured her as she started to slide down the wall. He reached out to her stopping her from her fall as he held her in his arms, “Avery, honey where are your keys?”

“What keys?” she asked fluttering her eyelashes at him.

“The ones to your apartment, silly,” he patted her nose in a teasing gesture.

“You want to get into my apartment,” her eyes widened in surprise as she looked up at him, “Nope, I’m afraid you can’t do that.”

“Not without the keys I can’t no,” Brant agreed with her, “but if you give me the keys, then I can get you inside so that you can go to bed…”

“Bed,” her eyes perked up as a smile touched over her lips. She reached out to place her finger in the center of Brant’s chest poking him roughly, “oh you Tiger. Brant, I had no idea…” she fell forward her mouth crushing over his in a sloppy kiss as she threw her arms around him, “You’re a naughty boy, but I like naughty boys.”

“Avery, sweetie, you’re drunk,” Brant whispered against her lips as she let out a hissing laugh.

“Just a little bit,” she pinched her fingers together as another laugh erupted from inside of her.

“More than a little bit,” Brant added watching her smile fade as she glared up at him.

“You’re being a party pooper, Brant,” she frowned at him, “I don’t want to go home just yet and if I wanted a party pooper, then I’d have had Russ take me home. He’s not fun anymore you know.”

“Avery, I’m not trying to be a party pooper,” he answered in mock amusement as he watched the transformation that had overtaken her with the champagne she’d drank on the plane, “In fact, I only want to take you inside so that we can get you changed for the next party.”

“Really?” her eyes widened in surprised delight, “Do you mean it?”

“Of course I do,” Brant nodded, “but first we have to get inside the apartment so we can get you ready and to do that, I‘m going to need your keys.”

“Well, I guess I could give them to you,” she thought it over for a moment, “but only under one condition.”

“What’s that?” he asked as she tipped her head back to look up at him again.

Avery leaned forward motioning for him to move closer towards her. She curled her finger at him a hint of seriousness over her features as he inched in towards her.

“You can’t have the keys unless you say the secret word,” she explained matter of fact in a low whisper as Brant saw the mischief burning behind her eyes.

“What’s the secret word,” he asked mimicking her quiet tone as she curled her finger again motioning for him to get closer still.

“You really want to know?”

“Yes,” he nodded, “I really want to know Avery.”

“Okay,” she leaned forward pressing her lips just above his ear, “you really want to know?”

“Yes, I really want to know,” he nodded taking in her seductive scent as she lingered over him, teasing him with the warmth of her breath against his skin.

“The magic word is,” she began in a low throaty whisper, “Make love to me.”

“Make love to me,” Brant repeated in shock as he pulled back seeing the laughter bubbling over behind her eyes.

“Well if you insist,” Avery threw her arms around him capturing his mouth in a sloppy kiss as she curled her leg around him hugging his body against hers.

Avery’s eyes snapped open as she looked to Brant again a heat pressing in over her features. She could remember it now. There was still a haze surrounding it, but there they were in her hallway outside her apartment all over each other and then in her apartment she could remember throwing herself at him. The way that he’d kissed her and how hot things had become between them after that kiss…

“Oh Brant,” she murmured against his mouth as she wrapped her arms around him and he picked her up off the ground carrying her across her apartment into her bedroom. He flung her onto the bed, before moving in over her lavishing her with kiss after hungry kiss.

“I’ll show you intense, Avery,” Brant vowed as his hands pressed in over her curves, wanting to erase any memory of Russell Denton as he kissed her.

“You are intense,” Avery reached out to him touching his face as a smile touched over her sexy mouth. She leaned up to kiss him again, thrusting her tongue between his parted lips as her hands moved over his body devouring him.

“No,” Avery cried out returning to the moment. She glanced over at Brant feeling a nagging ache building up inside of her. After all this time she’d truly believed that nothing happened--that she hadn’t and while she still couldn’t remember making love to him back then, things had certainly played out in such a fashion that could’ve lead up to them being…

“I’m sorry Avery. I wish that it wasn’t the truth, but I can’t lie about this any longer,” he dropped his head shamefully, “When you and I were on the island and you found out that you were pregnant, you were so convinced that Russ was Erin’s father. You thought that he was the one that you, but I knew in the back of my mind that we…”

“No we couldn’t have,” she shook her head adamantly, “I know that we didn’t let things get that far between us. You said it yourself at work that nothing happened…”

“I saw how embarrassed you were about the situation. I didn’t want to confuse you anymore than I already had. I wanted you to know that when we were together that it was because it was what we both wanted. I wanted us to have what we have now, not for you to think of me as a drunken one night stand,” he continued seeing her struggling with what he was telling her, “Avery I didn’t want you to think that I was all about sex because that wasn’t at all what I was looking for when I took you home that night. I wanted you to want me--to love me like I love you…”

“Brant that can’t be true. You can’t be Erin’s father…” Avery blurted out knowing where this conversation was headed. “There’s no way that…”

“Would it be so bad if I was her father? If we were really, truly a family?” he couldn’t help but ask her, “If our night together had conceived Erin? I know that you keep holding onto the idea of Russ being the one to give you the world, but you’re my wife and I love you. You love me too, don’t you?”

“Of course I love you Brant. You’re my husband and you saved my life, but for you to say such things--for you to tell me that you and I…” she trailed off finding herself at a loss, “There’s no way that my daughter could be…”

“Our daughter Avery,” Brant reached out to her curling his finger underneath her chin to get her to look up at him again. He saw the confusion behind her dark eyes, but deep in his heart he knew that all of this would be for the best, “Avery, Erin’s our daughter. She’s always been our daughter. From that first night that we were together I’ve known it and now you do too. It was our love that brought her into this world and it‘s our love that‘s going to give her the kind of life you‘ve dreamt about for her. If you think about it--really, truly think about it you‘ll see inside your heart that this is the way it should be--the way it always was for us.”


“Jenna, I can’t just be happy to hear about this. Do you have any idea what this means to your future?” Dorothy frowned back at her daughter, “About what kind of responsibility that this is that you’ll be taking on…”

“Mom you’re acting like I’m a child,” Jenna shook her head at her, “I’m far from being a little girl you know.”

“But not far enough for me not to worry about you. I’ll be worried about you until you’re eighty and even then I’ll still worry,” Dorothy stated firmly, “Just because you’re an adult doesn’t mean that you always know what’s best for you. You think that being around Hart now is fun and exciting, but when it gets to be time for feedings and changings and him being responsible, you’re going to see him in a whole new light.”

“Hart’s a wonderful father,” Jenna argued with her, a frown touching over her lips.

“Yes to a daughter that he hasn’t had a thing to do with all of these years, so why in the world would he want to have anything to do with your child given his lack of responsibility?” Dorothy snapped back at her catching Jenna off guard.

“But…” Jenna’s jaw dropped at her mother’s words, “How did you…”

“I saw him with the mother of his illegitimate daughter Jen. I saw them all over each other in her office when you were in the hospital. He was catering to her and kissing her, but since you didn’t want to believe a word I said I didn’t say anything until now. Now I can’t help but let you hear all about Hart Steiner and the man he isn’t. I realize that you’re under some kind of false belief that he has grown up and is going to be the man to step up to the plate to make your dreams come true, but hell if he can’t even be there for his daughter, what makes you think that he’ll even bother with being there for you?”

“Mom, you don’t know the first thing about that situation and…” Jenna started to argue with her.

“What more do I need to know other than Hart and Elizabeth Raines share a child with one another--a child that he’s had absolutely nothing to do with because he’d rather let another man step up and take responsibility for his duties as a father,” Dorothy blurted out just in time to hear the sound of something crashing from behind her.

Jenna looked up to see Wayne and Sam standing in the doorway and as she saw the broken bottle that Sam had obviously just dropped, she knew that trouble was about to follow.

“What did you just say?” Sam questioned stepping forward looking at Dorothy with a disbelieving stare. “What did you just say? Did you just tell her that Hart is my father?”

“Sam, it’s not what it…” Jenna began glaring over at her mother.

“Not what?” Sam asked loudly, “Jenna, she just said that Hart is my father. That Hart and my mother had a child together. Is that true?”


“Where in the world can she be?” Don questioned with a small frown as he ran his hands up through his hair angrily. They walked down almost every hallway and there was absolutely no sign of Shannon. “Where can we find her?”

“I don’t know man, she is your crazy wife,” Hart pointed out seeing the glare that Don threw back at him. Hart simply shrugged as he looked around the hallway. “I’m just saying you are the one that knows her more than me. So, where would she be?”

“I don’t know, but obviously she wouldn’t be out in the open where I could see her,” Don pondered, reaching up to itch his chin as he thought of all the places in the hospital. “I mean, she could be in the elevator or…”

“At the front desk,” Hart suggested pointing behind Don as Don shook his head slowly.

“No, she wouldn’t be there,” Don stated with a small sigh as he looked down at his watch. “It’s possible that she could have already told everyone, but where in the world can she be?”

“At the front desk,” Hart pointed behind Don once more as he saw Don shake his head once more. “Damn it Don, turn around.”

“What?” Don snapped feeling Hart force him to turn and face towards the front desk where Shannon was looking at some papers. “She’s at the front desk--I should have known she would have been there.”

“Of course you should have,” Hart nodded slowly before pushing Don forward, seeing him stumble a few feet. Don gave him a glare as Hart shrugged his shoulders. “You go talk to her, she’s crazy. I am not putting up with something like that.”

“Fine,” Don rolled his eyes before rolling his eyes at the way Hart was acting. “You are such a wimp.”

“I am not a wimp,” Hart shook his head slowly, holding his hands up in the air when he looked over at Shannon. “I’m just smart because I don’t want to get my butt kicked.”

“Whatever, I don’t even know why I am friends with you. I hate people who won‘t take stands on things,” Don gave Hart once last glance before letting out a small frown. Don started walking towards Shannon, stopping when he was a few feet away from her and looking back at Hart. “Watch this.”

“Oh, I’m watching alright,” Hart held his hands up in the air, leaning in against the wall to watch Don as he rubbed his hands together before facing Shannon again. “This will be good.”

“Shannon,” Don reached out to touch Shannon, grabbing her by the shoulder only to feel her pull away from him. A scowl appeared over Shannon’s features as Don reached out to touch her once more. “Shannon, please--just talk to me for one minute.”

“I have nothing else to say to you Don,” Shannon snapped folding her arms out in front of her chest as she looked Don over disgustedly. “No matter what you say you to me, you’re never going to change my mind.”

“You aren’t looking at both point of views Shannon,” Don stated with a small shake of his head, holding his hands up in the air as he spoke. “If you would just place yourself in my shoes or Brant’s shoes, you would realize that we are trying to do here. Shannon you have to understand how important it is that you give me the papers back.”

“You want the papers back?” Shannon questioned seeing Don nod slowly as she pulled the papers out of her back pocket. “Well, I guess I can see where you are coming from. You’re just trying to help you’re friends right?”

“Right,” Don let a small, sly smile as he took a look back at Hart, winking at him before looking back towards Shannon. He reached out for the papers going to grab them before Shannon pulled them away. “Hey, what are you doing? I thought you said you understood why I was doing this. Give me the papers Shannon.”

“Why would I give the papers to an idiot like you?” Shannon shook her head slowly, placing the papers back where they had been earlier in her pocket. “You are doing this because you are an idiot that would do anything Brant told you to do. Brant is just looking out for himself Don and I thought you would be smarter than this. I am never going to give you the papers because everyone has a right to know. Everyone should know the truth.”

“Maybe you are right,” Don nodded looking down towards the ground before looking back at Shannon with his light blue eyes. “I guess everyone should know the truth.”

“Don,” Shannon gasped feeling Don grab her in his arms tightly and hug her. Shannon tried to get out of Don’s embrace as she tried pushing him away from her. “What are you doing? Stop it Don. Let go of me.”

“I’m so sorry Shannon,” Don apologized patting her on the back slowly as he slid his grip in over her waist holding her tightly. “I hope one day you can forgive me.”

“Don,” Shannon gasped feeling him lift her up and throw her over his shoulder quickly. She hit him in the back over and over again trying to get him to let her go as she let out a small yelp. “Let go of me Don. Let go of me now.”

“I’m so sorry baby,” Don repeated looking over at Hart who was now gazing at him blankly. He let out a pained groan as he motioned Hart to come over by him. “Open the door, we’ll lock her in the broom closest.”

“Do it Hart and I’ll…” Shannon yelled as Don and Hart opened the door while Don quickly set Shannon down. Don swung the door shut before she could get out, leaving her in the dark broom closest. She tried to pull on the door knob, realizing that Don had locked it. “Don, let me out of here.”

“What are you going to do?” Hart wondered seeing Don press his back up against the door, letting out a deep sigh. “We can’t keep her in there for days Don.”

“I know, we’ll come up with a plan,” Don assured Hart feeling Shannon pound on the door, making him jump forward. “I don’t know what the plan is going to be, but all I know is that I am a dead man.”


“Where in the world is Russ?” Kyle asked himself looking around the hallway before noticing Elliot and Cheryl standing together down the hallway. Kyle slowly walked over to them, placing his hand on Cheryl’s shoulder lightly seeing the way at she jumped at his touch. “Sorry Cheryl, I didn’t mean to scare you.”

“Kyle,” Cheryl smiled reaching out to hug Kyle gently, feeling him wrap his arms around her. “How are you feeling?”

“I’m doing okay,” Kyle informed her with a small sigh letting her go as he took a step back. “I’m living, I guess that’s one thing to say. As long as I’m living--I’m okay.”

“I guess that’s a good way to look at it kid,” Elliot smiled, reaching out to pat Kyle on the back gently before letting out a deep breath.

“Hey, what’s wrong you two?” Kyle questioned looking between Elliot and Cheryl. “Where is Russ?”

“He went down that way with Grady,” Cheryl informed him with a small shake of her head, giving Elliot a small glance.

“Why do I get the feeling that something bad is going on?” Kyle looked over at Elliot who just seemed to look away from him. Kyle reached out to touch Cheryl’s shoulder gently, a small frown appearing over his lips. “Come on you two, you’ve been like parents to me. You can tell me anything.”

“It’s Russell,” Cheryl began placing her hand over Kyle’s, looking into his dark eyes as she let out a small breath. “Brant is keeping him away from Avery. Russell can’t go in to the room, I don’t know how he did it, but he did it.”

“How could someone let this happen?” Kyle’s hand fell to his side as he looked over at Elliot. “Who would let this happen? Russ is Avery’s husband. Everyone knows that he is Erin’s father. Who would let something like that pass?”

“I don’t know how Brant did it,” Elliot explained shrugging his shoulders as he tried to think of an answer to give Kyle. “I don’t know how he did it Kyle. The only thing I know is that his plan worked.”

“How could he be such a jerk?” Kyle questioned, clenching his fists down at his side as he let out a small scowl. “I think it’s time to give Brant a little visit.”

“Kyle,” Cheryl grabbed Kyle’s hand before he could walk away from her and Elliot. “Don’t get yourself in trouble. You are like a son to me and I don’t want to see you end up in trouble.”

“Don’t worry about me Cheryl,” Kyle slowly slipped his hand out of hers as he walked back slowly. “I’m protecting your family and I am going to do everything in my power to make sure that the family stays together.”

“What do you think he is going to do?” Cheryl looked back at Elliot who walked up next to her, placing his hand on her shoulder gently. “You don’t think he is going to get in trouble do you?”

“I don’t think anything good is going to come from this,” Elliot pondered for a minute before looking down at his watch. “I think it might be a good idea if we go get him before he ends up arrested for doing something.”


Dave let out a long sigh realizing that his sister wasn’t about to let go of what she was feeling now that he’d sat beside her for the last ten minutes trying to get something out of her. What she did say was muted by her head against the table and what he tried to understand was barely comprehendible with her sobs carrying over her.

“Cori, you need to talk to me,” Dave began with a heavy sigh hoping to reason with his sister, “You can’t let this thing with Diego eat you alive.”

“Don’t let it eat me alive?” Cori popped her head up at long last to look at him. “Dave, Diego was the great love of my life and now he’s gone. How do you think I’m going to feel about this? I am in hell.”

“Cori, it’s not that bad,” Dave tried to reason with her catching the glare she gave him. “I mean yes I know you’re hurting, but I promise you that pain will pass.”

“Oh right, I’m sure it’ll just pass on over me like a semi truck would,” she rolled her eyes at him, “Dave you don’t understand anything about love and passion. You’re a moron when it comes to those things and I can’t believe you’re being such an insensitive jerk.”

“I’m not being a jerk Cori,” Dave snapped back at her with a frown, “but you have to be a realist here. You and Diego have only dated a few months. It’s not like it’s the end of the world. You weren’t engaged and…”

“So typical of a man,” she threw her hands in the air, “You’re ready to justify the actions of another one of your kind. It’s always got to be the woman who is to blame right? I mean we can’t be oh so perfect like you are so…”

“Cori, stop. This isn’t helping. All I’m saying is that maybe just maybe it wasn’t meant to be. I know you got your hopes up for something that isn’t really what you wanted it to be there, but hey it happens to all of us. Each and every one of us experiences heartbreak once in a while.”

“Not like this Dave. You have no idea how horrible this feels. I loved him with every fiber of my being and he trashed me to pieces,” she snapped back at him, “He took something so precious between us and made a mockery of it all in the hopes of gaining that tramp’s attention.”

“Now wait a second. You said you only think that something was going on there with them. You don’t know for sure,” Dave pointed out with a frown, “Besides, the last time I checked Sarah was dating Kyle.”

“She’s a manipulator. She can’t be happy with just one man. I know her kind and she knew that I was happy with Diego, so she had to find a way to destroy it,” Cori clenched her fists on the table top, “But I’m not going to let her get away with it. I’m not going to let either one of them get away with hurting me like they did. They can’t just make a mockery of my emotions and think that there won’t be any consequences to their betrayal.”

“Cori, you need to let it go. Diego isn’t worth the energy and maybe it’s a good thing that it’s over. You can find someone else who makes you even happier and…” Dave watched her push away from the table and stand up defiantly.

“Oh no. Diego will pay for what he’s done to me. He and his little tramp are going to have to face what they’ve done one way or another,” Cori vowed seething with rage as she vowed revenge on Sarah Marx for ruining her life.

“Cori thinking like that isn’t productive. It’s self-defeating and…” Dave began again.

“Exactly what those two deserve given what they’ve done,” Cori mouthed to herself a twisted smirk spreading over her tear-stained face.

“Cori, you have to let this go. You have to move on and…” Dave began in a worried tone.

“The hell I will. Sarah and Diego are going down. It’s only a matter of time,” Cori vowed realizing that if Sarah and Diego thought that they’d broken Cori down, they were in for a very rude awakening because now it was all about payback, which was something Cori fully intended to serve to them until both of them saw just how wrong they were in daring to cross her. Oh yes, sweet justice would be Cori’s because now she would find a way to be triumphant and show the both of them that she was nobody’s fool. Not now, not ever.


Diego walked into his house tossing his keys on the table top before locking the door behind him. While he knew full well he probably should’ve stayed at the office and buried himself in work, right now that was the last thing on his mind. All he could think about was Kyle and Sarah and watching them reunite with one another. What was he thinking to believe that anything more would happen between him and Sarah? What they’d done was completely out of the blue and totally the last thing she needed when they’d come to one another.

“You should’ve known better,” he could hear the voice inside of his head curse him over and over again. While he knew full well that he hadn’t planned on making love with Sarah when he’d offered her comfort during her breakup with Kyle, one thing had lead to another and they’d crossed a line that went well beyond the world of friendship.

“I should’ve stopped it,” Diego thought aloud remembering that he and Cori were together at the time. While he couldn’t think of any real reason why he’d fallen into that situation all that he could focus on was that night he shared with Sarah--on the passion they’d experienced with one another when things had felt as if they’d hit rock bottom for her.

Diego had spent years in isolation--years hiding away from the rest of the world, yet in one night he’d opened up to Sarah in ways that he hadn’t been able to do with anyone else since Maria had died. Yes, he was well aware of the fact that he’d lead Cori on to some degree, but the night he’d shared with Cori paled in comparison to what it was that he felt for Sarah. She was someone very special--someone very near and dear to his heart and while he knew that they were only destined to be friends, he couldn’t help but look back on that night wondering how they’d been able to slip into that position with one another.

The irony of course was that after they’d made love, he knew he should’ve regretted it, but he hadn’t. If anything it had been enough to convince him that he couldn’t lead Cori on any longer. He had to make a break--to clean the slate so that he could deal with whatever it was that he was feeling for Sarah. Sure, he knew how complicated it would be, but when she was with him, he was convinced that she’d felt it too--certain that she’d felt that connection when they were with one another. He’d wanted more than anything to explore that with her--to figure things out between them, but now, well now that was never going to happen since Kyle was back in her life again.

“It wasn’t meant to happen in the first place,” Diego reminded himself wondering how he’d gone from being logical and together to a complete mess. From the moment he’d first met Heather his life hadn’t been the same. He’d fallen for her in so many ways, yet when he’d met Sarah there was something about her. She was beautiful, wonderful, sweet and so very kind. In a lot of ways she was the woman he’d always hoped Heather would evolve into, yet there was something else there--something that had prompted him to kiss her. It was something that had lead to them making love, but now that he was free, she was back with Kyle again and he knew that there was no way that anything more could come of their brief union. Sarah had always loved Kyle and Kyle had always loved Sarah. That hadn’t ever been in question and in the back of Diego’s mind he should’ve known that. He should’ve been ready to face the obvious, but he’d been in denial about it. He’d wanted to believe that there was a chance he could win Sarah over, but now, well now that moment had been long gone.

“The best thing you can do for her is leave her alone and move on,” Diego warned himself moving into the kitchen to get himself a drink. He’d hurt Cori with his feelings for Sarah and even Heather, but now, well now he was going to get his priorities straight. As he poured himself a drink, he made a solemn promise to push his feelings for Sarah aside. She was his friend and she was happy now. There was no more looking back. After tonight he would never again stew over memories of the night they’d shared with one another. After tonight he’d never think of her as a woman he shared a passion with. Instead he would view her as the good friend she’d come to be in his life. He would be friendly and kind and never hint at anything other than friendship from here on out. They would be as they always were meant to be, but of course that all began after tonight. Tonight he would drown in his sorrow, embrace his memories and dream about what might’ve been during that brief moment in time when love felt like it was offering the both of them a new chance to begin again.


“Where did he go?” Sarah let out a deep sigh, leaning in against the wall as she looked down the hallway. She had been looking for Kyle, but she had no idea where he had gone. “I can’t talk to Diego and I can’t find Kyle. Things are going just great.”

She jumped at the sudden sound of her cell phone ringing and she let out a small sigh reaching inside her pocket to grab her cell phone.

“Hello,” Sarah answered not bothering to look at the number because she figured it was probably Kipp or someone calling her because Kyle and Diego were at the hospital.

“Sarah, big sister,” Heather smiled widely, hearing the way that Sarah was let out a deep sigh over the other end. “What’s wrong sis? Something bothering you?”

“No,” Sarah grumbled looking down over at the clock on the wall as she could just imagine Heather’s fake smile on the other side of the phone. “What is it that you want?”

“You see, I was wondering if you possibly wanted to come and see Charles,” Heather offered up with a small shrug as she sat back on the couch. “I know you haven’t seen him in a while and I know you might like to.”

“What?” Sarah questioned with a small laugh as she shook her head slowly. “Why are you offering that to me now of all times?”

“Well, you see,” Heather began her story trying to say why she wanted Sarah to come over and see Charles, “I was out with my friend Chris and the babysitter called me. I guess she ended up getting sick and she didn’t want Charles to get sick so she called me while Kellen and Kipp are out on their date. Now I'm at Kipp’s place with Charles and Chris ended up leaving because he came up with some stupid excuse. So, I’m kind of lonely right now and I was wondering if you wanted to come over. We could actually spend some time together.”

“What do you really want?” Sarah wondered letting out a small frown, knowing that there was no way Heather would just want to hang out with her for no reason what so ever. “There is something you want--what is it?”

“Who said I want something from you?” Heather laughed shaking her head slowly as she spoke. There was always a possible chance that she might want to get closer to her sister, but why was that so hard to believe? “So are you interested in coming over, or not?”

“I’m not buying that you just want to hang out with me Heather,” Sarah repeated with a small shake of her head, rolling her eyes in disbelief. “What do you want? I mean really--don’t lie to me this time.”

“Okay, fine,” Heather let out a long sigh, leaning forward on the couch as she spoke. “I was wondering if Diego has mentioned me lately. It was like everything was going so well and now it’s like I never see or talk to him anymore. So, has he said anything about me?”

“Not really, no,” Sarah answered with a small shrug of her shoulder, standing up straight as she heard Heather let out a depressed sigh on the other end. “But I really haven’t been listening that much, so you never really know.”

“I think I messed up with him somehow Sarah,” Heather informed Sarah with a deep sigh, trying to think of what she did to make Diego so upset. There were so many things she tried to make Diego like her and for a while it looked like it was working. The only thing Heather kept asking herself was, what happened? “Do you think you could help me out to try and get on Diego’s good side again?”


“So now what?” Don questioned in a panic hearing Shannon shouting at him from inside of the closet. “We can’t keep her here forever.”

“No we can’t, but we can buy ourselves a little time,” Hart explained hearing a slamming sound as it seemed Shannon threw something at the door.

“When I get out of here you son of a bitch…” Shannon shouted causing Don to jump when another thud hit the door once more.

“I’ll go find Brant and tell him what’s going on,” Hart explained quickly, “I’ll let him know that Shannon’s onto us and when I get to him, I’ll have him get Avery out of here before…”

There was another louder thud than before and both men jumped back. The door was still locked, but it didn’t change the fact that Shannon was roaring mad. Both men exchanged glances before Don finally nodded.

“Please hurry because I know I’m a dead man when she gets out of there,” Don added hearing his wife still cursing him up and down.

“I’ll work fast hopefully,” Hart promised rushing off in search of Brant as Don looked to the door fearfully.

“Don Leveski I swear to you right now if you don’t open this door and let me out, you’re going to be a dead man…no I take that back. When I finally get out of here, you’re going to be a living dead man. I’m going to castrate you and then…”

“Shannon, I love you baby, but this is for your own good,” Don gulped looking down to the center of his pants. He placed his hand down there protectively fearing for his wife’s exit from the closet, “I love you honey.”

“I’m so going to kill you!” Shannon shouted as Don stood up straighter trying to feign an air of normalcy despite the fact that he was pretty certain that he was in for it big time. “I can’t believe that you would turn on your wife---your own wife for the name of helping Brant commit such a…”

“Baby, I’m so sorry, but I have to do this for my best friend. He’s had my back more times than I can even begin to explain which is why I have to do this,” Don explained bringing his hand to the door as Shannon seemed to grow silent, “This is about friendship and loyalty. I couldn’t just walk away from him. I promise I’m going to make it up to you honey. Maybe we can have a quiet dinner and then some…”

“Drop dead Don!” Shannon kicked at the door causing him to leap back in horror wondering what was worse letting a friend down or facing the wrath for his wife? Either way he had a nagging feeling that he was stuck in a lose-lose situation.


“Where are we going,” Russell couldn’t help but ask moving in behind Deana as they walked down the hallway. He watched her round the corner and he pushed a foot forward ready to follow when she leapt back nearly knocking him over in the process.

“Damn!” Deana cursed under her breath, her fingers wrapping around the wall. She pushed Grady and Russ back before she peered around the side of the wall to see Dr. Don Leveski yelling at the closet. While she wasn’t quite sure what was going on, she knew full well that it put a snag in their plans once again. “We can’t get in there with him there.”

“With who?” Grady leaned forward peering over her shoulder with a frown. He moved back standing up straighter. “Damn!”

“What is it?” Russ shuffled forward wanting to get a look at what the latest holdup was.

“It’s Brant’s goon squad,” Grady mouthed icily as Russ took in a look at Don now pacing around the hall.

“Why don’t we just shove him in the closet,” Russ suggested with a small shrug.

“That’s not a bad idea,” Deana nodded in agreement taking another look at Don to see him stopping in front of the door and saying a few more words. It really was a strange situation.

“Um okay reality check here, but have either one of you taken a look at the size of that guy,” Grady tossed in with a frown, “While I’m sure that together Russ and I might be able to take him down, don’t you think that’s going to oh I don’t know maybe cause a bit of a scene? If someone walks by and sees us trying to tackle a doctor into a closet there, I think it’ll raise some suspicions.”

“At this point what do we have to lose?” Russ shrugged his shoulders not wanting Brant’s friend to be the thing that prevented him from being with the love of his life.

“Um, you could get kicked out of here before we even get close to Avery’s room and that would be a big problem,” Grady pointed out with a small groan.

“Grady’s right. We need a new method of attack,” Deana added pondering it for a moment, “I know. I think I have it. Russ you’re coming with me.”

“Where now?” Russ frowned already feeling as if he’d been delayed for far too long already. All he truly wanted was to go into Avery’s room and be with her. He wanted to kick Brant out and get things straight once and for all.

“Just trust me,” Deana pleaded with the man that towered over her, “And Grady when you see Don walk away, you make your move.”

“Okay,” Grady nodded seeing Deana lead Russ off with her. They were gone only a matter of seconds when Grady heard a page over the loudspeaker for Don.

Don looked up and let out a groan. He paced around the hallway for a moment or so, but when the page was repeated saying it was an emergency, Grady watched Don let out a huff. It was as if he was in heavy contemplation about what he must do, but ultimately Don gave into duty and started to step away.

Smiling Grady popped out from behind the corner ready to get the plans into motion. He walked over to the closet his grin expanding by the moment.

“You’re good Deana,” Grady couldn’t help but muse thinking about her plan to get Russ into Avery’s room. Reaching for the door to the closet, Grady found himself rewarded with it being locked. He tried a few times to open the door, but there was nothing.

“Did you get in,” a voice questioned from behind him. He spun around to see Deana standing in front of him curiosity burning behind her eyes.

“It’s locked,” he motioned to the door, “what about you? Where’s Don?”

“He’s taken care of,” Deana added quickly, “but so is Russ. I found another way to do this, so we don’t need to get in here any longer.”

“Thanks for telling me now,” Grady groaned ready to walk away when he heard a slamming sound from inside the closet. He spun around to hear a scream from within the closet and he and Deana exchanged confused glances, “You have a key for this?”

“I do, but…” Deana heard another slam once more before she fished into her pocket searching for the key, “I already have Russ set up, but…”

“Obviously there’s something else Dr. Leveski is hiding,” Grady snagged the key from Deana’s hand and popped it into the lock. Before he could say anything further, he opened the door and immediately he felt a fist slam straight into his abdomen causing him to buckle over.

“And that’s only the beginning for you, you piece of shi…” Shannon sneered her words coming out violent and threatening until she realized that the man now laid out on the ground wasn’t Don, but rather Grady Denton.

“What in the world…” Deana questioned horrified as she looked to a now moaning and groaning Grady.

“Shannon what the hell!” Grady gasped for air feeling a pain shoot up his abdomen as she and Deana leaned down to pull him up off of the ground.

Shannon pushed him into the wall her face full of color now that a mixture of embarrassment and anger controlled her. She’d wanted to kill Don when she’d felt that door open, but nothing had prepared her for the thought that maybe it could be someone else standing there. Seeing Grady’s face still red, she only wanted to strangle Don even more.

“I thought you were Don,” Shannon began apologetically, “he locked me in the closet and…”

“And I wish it was Don instead of me,” Grady groaned feeling pain shoot up through him, “You have a mean right hook there.”

“Yeah well my first instinct was to use my knee in his groin. I’m glad I repressed the urge,” Shannon curled her fists together at her side into tiny balls. “I swear I’m going to kill my husband when I see him again considering that…”

“That he’s a moron?” Grady suggested thinking about Don’s willingness to be Brant’s little lap dog.

“Among other things,” Shannon nodded a sneer touching over her lips, “I mean of all the stupid, idiotic things to do. I don’t see how he thought that by locking me in there he was going to get any kind of reprieve because when I find him he’s a dead man. He’s going to wish that he never met me and…”

“Dare I ask what this squabble is about or are you going to hit me again?” Grady questioned wearily.

“He’s just upset with me because Brant’s having him…” Shannon stopped herself realization dawning in over her. “Grady where’s Russ?”

“I um, I don’t know. We were trying to get in here, but then he left with Deana and…” Grady started to explain.

“Whose Deana?” Shannon questioned with a strange expression.

“That would be me,” Deana waved her hand in the air before taking a step back, “but just don’t hit me okay.”

“Look I’m not really that violent,” Shannon started to apologize, “Just when my husband…never mind. Where did you take Russ to?”

“He wanted to see Avery,” Grady informed her point blank, “but thanks to Brant, Hart and Don they’ve done what they can to keep him away from her. He’s desperate and…”

“And I really need to talk to him,” Shannon blurted out in a quick breath, “There’s something he needs to know. Something that changes everything!”


“Is is true Jenna,” Sam questioned again unable to let go of the question at hand. She saw the way Jenna’s face seemed to drain of all color and she let out a gasp, “Oh my God. That’s why you’ve all been being so nice to me. That’s why…”

“Sam, look I don’t know what you think you heard, but…” Jenna began attempting to undo the damage her mother had unknowingly caused. She could see Wayne still standing by the doorway, holding the bag of things he’d brought with him. He too looked stunned, but it was Sam who worried Jenna.

“Is Hart my father?” Sam commanded a response from her. “Is she telling the truth?”

“Sam, I really think that you should sit down. That we should just talk for a little while and wait for Hart to…” Jenna stammered knowing that this was the last thing she wanted to do especially since it wasn’t her place at all to be telling Sam Hart’s news. That was his decision and it was his choice on when Sam needed to hear the news, but Dorothy had taken that opportunity away in a fit of anger.

“I don’t want to sit down! I don’t even want to be here right now,” Sam took a step back nearly stumbling over in the process, “I thought that you were all being so nice to me because you actually cared--because you were good people…”

“We are good people and we do care Sam. Hart loves you so much,” Jenna tried to defend her boyfriend, “He only recently learned about you and your mother begged him not to say anything. He wanted to, but…”

“But what? He just thought I was stupid? That I’m some kind of idiot,” Sam threw her hands up in the air, “I am some kind of idiot. All the signs were there, but I couldn’t see them. Time after time I wondered what had happened to destroy my parents and their marriage--I spent so many years believing it was me and now, well now you’ve only proved it. It was me!”

“No Sam, it wasn’t,” Jenna tried to reach out to her, “I’m sure that your parents had difficulties because…”

“Because my mother had an affair with Hart. This makes perfect sense. My father has hated him since day one when we first came back to Coral Valley. I just thought it was because Hart was some kind of jackass he was tired of dealing with, but now…” Sam’s eyes widened in realization, “Oh God!”

“Sam wait,” Jenna tried to reach out to her watching Sam rush towards the front door in tears. She moved forward in an attempt to stop her as Wayne moved in front of her.

“Let me talk to her,” Wayne pleaded with his sister giving his mother one look before chasing off after Sam in the hopes stopping her from doing something stupid.

Once Jenna and Dorothy were alone, Dorothy took in the time to realize what had happened. She opened her mouth to speak finding herself at a loss. Finally she spoke up.

“I had no idea she was standing there. Jenna, I never, ever would’ve said anything if I thought that…” Dorothy started to apologize to her daughter.

“That’s the problem with you lately mom. You don’t think. You don’t ever think about what is best for anyone else other than yourself. You just do what you want and say what you want and don’t give a damn how it’s hurting people,” Jenna reached for her jacket slipping into it quickly before swiping her car keys up, “Hart was waiting for the right moment to tell her about him being her father. Time after time he found himself wondering when the right moment would arise and never in any of our wildest dreams did it come about by your being angry with me. Of all the cruel, insensitive things to do…”

“I didn’t know Jenna,” Dorothy piped in once again feeling awful for upsetting Sam.

“Yeah well maybe that’s because you don’t take the time to ask. Maybe if you stopped condemning Hart long enough to see the wonderful man that he truly is, you’d see just how wrong you are about everything,” Jenna shook her head at her one last time before going off after Wayne and Sam in the hopes that she could undo the damage that her mother had done with Sam. Hart was only now able to get close to Sam, but Jenna feared her mother’s words had taken all that progress between them and pushed it far behind any possible chance for that bond to continue for them.


“I just…I…” Avery stammered trying to make sense with what Brant was telling her. There was so much to process--so many thoughts she was having that were jumbled and she couldn’t piece them together. Her dream had felt so real and…

“It’s okay, I know it’ll take some time to get used to the idea, but I promise you that everything is going to be alright. We’re going to go home and push everything behind us. We’re going to be happy together and,” Brant stared smoothing his fingers through her dark hair.

“I’m just so confused Brant,” Avery bit down on her lower lip feeling it trembling as she faced that fact that what he was telling her could be true. While she’d never truly believed she’d given her heart away during that time to anyone but Russ, with what Brant was saying to her--with what her memory was trying to show her, she didn’t know what to believe any longer.

“I love you Avery and I know as long as you love me too, we can work through anything with one another,” Brant promised kissing the top of her head as the hospital door burst open.

“Brant, we need to talk. We have a problem! A big one,” Hart began breathlessly rushing into the room in a haste.

“You’re damn right you have a problem because I’m going to kill you, you son of a bitch!” Kyle sneered stomping into the room and making a beeline towards Brant with malicious intent. He reached out for him ready to strangle him when his eyes fell upon Avery in his arms. That stopped him dead in his tracks!

“Kyle don’t!” Cheryl pleaded she and Elliot rushed into the room ready to prevent Kyle from causing any serious damage to Brant. They too were shocked to see Avery awake and in Brant’s arms.

“Cheryl? Elliot? Kyle?” Avery batted her eyelashes at them looking to each one of them as if they’d stepped out of some twisted dream and pushed their way into her hospital room. “What’s going on here?”

“That’s what I’d like to know. I specifically told the guard at the door that no one but Avery’s doctors could get in here and…” Brant started when a man dressed in a doctor’s attire stepped into the room with a surgical mask over his face. He moved forward beyond the rest of the crowd making a dramatic entrance when he pulled the mask off of his face to reveal it was Russell Denton.

“Russ,” Avery’s jaw dropped as she saw her dead husband standing before her.

“That’s right Avery,” Russ found himself unable to refrain from the urge to get close to her. He raced over to the side of her bed shoving Brant aside and pulling her into his arms, “I’m here sweetheart just like I promised you I would be.”

“But…I thought that I was only dreaming and…” Avery’s brown eyes widened with shock before she threw her arms around him, “Oh God, Russ you’re really alive. You’re really here. I thought it was just a nightmare I was having when I was dreaming about Bruce and my going into labor, but…”

“It wasn’t a nightmare. I wish some parts of it were, but it’s reality. We’re together again and we have Erin and…” Russ started to explain feeling her pull away from him ever so slightly.

“Erin,” she repeated her gaze shifting between him and Brant who now stood at the corner of her bed watching her intently.

“That’s right,” Russ curled his finger underneath her chin to keep her gaze fixed on his, “She’s our daughter and she needs us both so very much. Do you remember having her? When we were at the cabin?”

“With Kyle and Grady and…” Avery nodded quickly, “I remember. I remember you being there with me and when she was born she was so beautiful Russ.”

“She’s beautiful just like her mother,” Russ added with a small smile, “She’s everything we’ve ever wanted and everything we could’ve asked for. We‘re a family now and…”

“I think it’s time for you to go,” Brant cleared his throat uneasily turning his attention to Hart, “I have a restraining order and…”

“And you can take your restraining order and you can stick it up your ass,” Russ announced springing up from the bed spinning around to glare at Brant, “You and your family have tried to shut me out of Avery’s life long enough and I won’t let you do it again. You might’ve tried to have me murdered, but it didn’t work Ashford. I’m still here and I’m not about to hand my family over to you.”

“What?” Avery’s jaw dropped as she tried to get up and out of bed. Kyle reached out to her trying to keep her from getting up.

“Avery don’t,” Kyle pleaded with her knowing full well she was still very weak.

“Russ what are you talking about? Brant?” Avery’s dark eyes were filled with confusion as Russ faced her again to explain.

“That day at the airport Avery. I went to get information on Bruce--to find out who was paying for him to keep evading the police. I knew that he had to have someone who was financing him--someone who was letting him roam about undetected,” Russ started to explain to her anger burning behind his eyes. He glared over at Brant before continuing, “I met with a woman named Christy. I thought that she was the woman who was in love with Randy--remember the guy that Kyle found spying on us?”

“Sort of…” Avery blinked up at him.

“To make a long story short it was a setup. All of it. When I got there she gave me some papers, but then someone drugged me. Someone pulled me out of her car and tried to kill me and that someone was working for your mother,” Russ explained spinning around to face Brant with a harsh accusation, “and his father!”

“What?” Avery gasped in response.

“No, that’s not possible,” Brant asserted taking a step towards him, “My father is dead!”

“No, he’s not dead,” Russ informed him bluntly, “It turns out that he’s never been dead, but I trust that you’re well aware of that fact since this has always been about eliminating me and putting you and Avery together. That’s always been what they’ve wanted--what you all have wanted.”

“You’ve lost your mind. I saw my father die! There is no way that…” Brant stammered again unwilling to accept what Russ was telling him.

“Russ he’s dead,” Cheryl couldn’t help but add hearing her son’s words. “I know he’s dead.”

“No mom he’s very much alive and that’s not all,” Russ looked to Avery again, “He tried to have me killed, but I escaped. I escaped in time to try to work my way back to you, but I was in an accident and I had amnesia. He and Brooke must’ve figured that I’d drowned in trying to escape. I don’t know how they pulled it off, but Brooke was going to kill Erin. She killed our first child with Bruce’s help and…”

“No, oh my God…” Avery blinked back remembering her mother’s attack on her. “She tried to kill me in my office. She attacked me and I threw her out of that window and…”

“And I was there for you Avery. I protected you when she tried to hurt you,” Brant moved forward trying to reason with her, “You have to know that I would never, ever play a hand in hurting you. I had no idea that Russ was still alive and this nonsense with my father…”

“It’s truth Brant!” Russell cut him off sharply, “Before I was pulled from that car I was presented with proof that Nicholas Ashford was in fact still alive and working with Brooke. Together they pulled off Brooke’s kidnapping and set up Bruce. I’m sure that he was working with them until that point in time, but once he was double-crossed all of the rules changed. She promised Bruce that he could be with Avery after he helped her murder our child, but then when Nicholas gave Brooke a better offer, then she dropped him as well. Avery, I know this is hard to hear, but it’s the truth. Your mother is a murderer. She’s the reason we lost our first child and…”

“And I believe you. She attacked me and I hurt her. I threw her out of a window in my office and then Brant helped me…” Avery explained once again.

“Which is all the more proof that I wouldn’t have anything to do with what Russ is saying to you. My father is dead. He’s been dead for a long time Avery. You helped me bury him,” Brant continued desperately not wanting to believe a word that Russ was saying, “I know your mother was evil, but…”

“But nothing. She worked with your father to keep Avery and I apart so that Avery could be with you and there isn’t a doubt in my mind that you were involved in this. I’m sure that you worked your hardest to erase me from Avery’s mind and…” Russ tossed out more accusations as he lunged towards Brant.

“That’s not true. None of it! Avery, I would never do that to you. I would never lie about something like that. You know how much I love you and…” Brant began desperate to reach out to his wife.

“And nothing. She’s my wife and you did this to her. You did this to us with your greed!” Russ accused further taking a step towards Brant when Don rushed through the door.

“Brant, we need to talk. We’ve got big problems and…” Don’s voice tapered off when he saw the group around them. “Oh my goodness…Brant we really need to…”

“Not now,” Brant waved his hand at his friend before moving in closer to Avery. Despite the glares he was getting from Russ he reached for her hand, “Avery you know that I would never, ever hurt you. I love you and all I’ve wanted was to protect you--to keep you safe and…”

“And what? You’ve just been so forthcoming about everything with her that you felt compelled to lie to her about her life,” Shannon’s voice questioned as she marched into the room to join the group. “That’s why you persuaded my idiot husband to help you rig a DNA test to say that you’re Erin’s father instead of Russ?”

“What?” Avery questioned her jaw dropping.

“Avery, that’s not true. I told you that we made love and…” Brant pleaded desperation surging over him, “You remember that night and…”

“I’m going to kill you,” Russ leapt towards him only to feel Kyle pull him back.

“No let me do the honors,” Kyle began pushing Russ aside as Don pushed his way between Kyle and Brant.

“No one is going to be killing anyone in here,” Don warned shoving Kyle in the chest only to feel the wrath of Kyle’s glare upon him. “If everyone would just calm down…”

“You shut up because you’re going to get it later and you,” Shannon shook her head at Brant, “You should be ashamed of yourself and what you were planning to do in robbing this family of a future with one another…”

“I was going to do no such thing. Erin is my daughter and…” Brant argued with her wanting more than anything to have Shannon shut the hell up.

“I’m sorry Brant, but this isn’t going to play out like you’re hoping for,” Shannon replied pulling out the pages that she’d stolen from Don’s office earlier, “Because while my jack-ass husband wanted to help you pull off your biggest deception yet, the joke is on you.”

“What is that?” Elliot asked seeing Shannon holding the papers out to Russell.

“It’s proof that despite the show going on here, well there is truth in the fact that Brant has ties to Erin,” Shannon explained matter of fact her eyes shooting daggers over at his general direction. She watched Don’s eyes widen and Brant’s jaw drop before he quickly recovered standing up off of the bed.

“What?” Russell frowned stealing the paper from Shannon’s hand practically ripping it from her, “That’s impossible!”

“Well of course it’s true,” Brant adjusted his tie nodding over at Don proudly knowing full well that despite Shannon’s bitch mode, his friends had come through for him, “Was there ever any real doubt there that Avery and I have had a child together and…”

“And if you keep shoveling out your bull, then people are bound to get sick of it quickly. According to the tests that my husband didn’t get a chance to tinker with, it’s as clear as day,” Shannon handed a copy of the paper over to Brant, “because while you have ties to Erin on a DNA level, it’s not because you’re her father, but rather it’s due to the fact that you’re Erin’s uncle.”


...to be continued...