Episode 282

“This has been amazing Kellen, thank you for making my night and morning perfect,” Kipp leaned his head against again Kellen’s shoulder, feeling Kellen hold onto him tighter. “I don’t know what I would do without you.”

“Don’t say that dear,” Kellen whispered in Kipp’s ear before kissing Kipp’s forehead gently. “I don’t want to think about something so horrible. If I didn’t have you, I would be a lost dog. In fact, I know that I would never be able to find love again if I lost you.”

“Come on Kellen, we all know that you like certain people. All you would have to do is find a hunk and go on with your life,” Kipp chuckled looking up into Kellen’s blue eyes, seeing the way that Kellen frowned at his remark. “Am I not right?”

“Truthfully, you are very, very wrong,” Kellen nodded slowly turning on the ground to face Kipp better. Kellen took a look at the sun rising above the lake as he let out a deep sigh. “Sure, I think people are cute, but my heart only goes out to one man. That one man being you Kipp Mahoney. I love you and no one could take the love I have for you. Sure, I say people are hot, but in all relationships people do that. I would never ruin something so perfect, something I have with you.”

“You know, you’re the only one that I actually believe when you say that to me,” Kipp reached out to squeeze Kellen’s hand in his gently. “You wouldn’t believe how many times in life I have heard that line and never before have I truly felt like someone meant it. It’s just something that I see when I look into your eyes Kellen, the way that you say these words to me. It feels incredible to have you tell me that.”

“Well that’s a good thing because I plan on telling you that every day of my life from here on out,” Kellen promised standing up from the sandy ground and wiping his pants off. Kellen reached his hand out to Kipp’s pulling Kipp up from the ground and into his arms. “You are the one person I have cared about the most in my life and I’m not going to lose the best thing that ever stepped into my life.”

“I don’t want to lose you Kellen. I should be more afraid of losing you because you are so perfect. You shouldn’t be so worried about losing me--I’m too afraid to lose what I have,” Kipp informed Kellen with a deep sigh, feeling Kellen’s hand run through his hair slowly. “You’re just so special.”

“Well, I am glad we feel the same way about each other,” Kellen gave Kipp a small kiss before looking out towards the rising sun. “As much as I wish we could stay here forever with each other, I think it’s time that we should get back to a very special little boy. Charles might be missing his daddy.”

“It might be a good idea to get back there, I don’t want Lindsay to get in trouble for something that is our fault,” Kipp agreed walking back towards the car with Kellen. “I want to thank you for everything you’ve done Kellen. These are the moments I will cherish the rest of my life.”

“All those moments will have more to come because I want you to be my everything forever and always,” Kellen whispered kissing Kipp once more before looking down at his watch. “The same thing goes for the hungry little morning baby. We should probably get going real soon.”


“Oh god,” Diego let out a small groan, turning over on Kipp’s leather couch as he tried to get more comfortable. Last night Diego promised Heather that he would stay over until Kipp and Kellen got back. Obviously, Kipp and Kellen never came home, so he spent his whole night on the couch that was rather uncomfortable on his muscles.

“I told you that you could have laid with me last night,” Heather entered the room, seeing Diego shoot up into sitting position as she entered the room. “I’m sure the bed would have been much more comfortable than that couch.”

“The couch was fine,” Diego sighed trying to stretch out his back as Heather sat down next to him. She handed a glass of orange juice over to him, watching as he took it from her. “What’s this?”

“It’s orange juice, you know--you drink it,” Heather answered with a small smile, taking a sip of her drink after Diego set his down on the table. “Are you afraid to drink it or something?”

“No, I’m just trying to wake up a little bit,” Diego informed her with a small yawn, stretching out his neck as he spoke. Heather’s cold hands ran over his shoulders as he let out a small sigh. “What are you doing?”

“I’m trying to help,” Heather caressed his shoulders gently, only to feel him pull away from her. She shrugged her shoulders before letting out a small laugh. “You have some problems Diego, I was just trying to help.”

“Well, I just don’t need it,” Diego explained picking his orange juice up to take a sip of it, but stopped when he heard the doorbell. He set his drink back down before looking over at the clock. “Kellen and Kipp?”

“Must be,” Heather nodded standing up and tying her dark red, robe tighter. “Kipp tends to forget his keys a lot. When he has Kellen on his mind. That’s all he has in mind.”

“What’s wrong?” Diego heard Heather gasp out as she opened the door and looked at the person before her. “Who is it? Heather?”

“Kyle,” Heather reached out, wrapping her arms around Kyle’s shoulders and hugging him tightly.

“Hello to you too,” Kyle let out a small laugh, holding Heather in his arms tightly, picking her up off the ground and spinning her around. He set her back down before letting out a small smile. “I’m happy to see you too.”

“How are you doing?” Heather asked quickly, remembering the news she had heard about Kyle from when he got hurt. There were so many questions on why he was here right now, it really got her mind thinking over time. “What are you doing here?”

“Well, I’m living and I came here because I heard a rumor that you called last night. A little bird mentioned seeing Charles and I figured hey, I’d love to see the little guy,” Kyle smirked as Heather looked back towards the door to see Sarah walking in. “So, is it okay that I came over here? I knew I should have called…”

“Nonsense, I love the idea of seeing you,” Heather replied seeing Kyle walk over towards the door where he had set something down. “I wanted to check in on you anyways.”

“Well, I’m doing okay, but I must admit to you,” Kyle began holding a bag in the air as a small smile appeared over his lips. Kyle sat down on the couch next to Diego, setting the bag on the coffee table before him. “I brought a gift for you. It was one of our favorites when we were kids. Sarah told me that you probably wouldn’t want these, but I decided I wanted to get them anyways.”

“He kept insisting on it,” Sarah informed Heather as Diego’s dark eyes met Sarah’s. A small bit of uneasiness overcame her as she let out a small cough. There was something about being in the same room with Diego and Heather that made her uncomfortable.

“Hey, orange juice,” Kyle picked up Diego’s orange juice that Diego hadn’t touched. Kyle took a sip of it before looking over at Diego. “You okay man?”

“Yeah, I’m fine. You know, I think I have to use the restroom, my stomach is a little upset,” Diego got up from the couch and walked over towards the bathroom. “I’ll be right back.”

“I think I’m going to get a glass of water,” Sarah walked into Kipp’s kitchen, looking back to see Heather and Kyle staring over at her. “I feel a little thirsty.”

“What’s her problem?” Heather looked down at Kyle seeing him shrug his shoulders. “Something seems to be up with her lately.”

“She has been acting like this for a while,” Kyle shook his head, his dark eyes looking up into Heather’s. “I think she has a stick up her ass.”

“She needs to remove it,” Heather stated with a small shake of her head, seeing Kyle nod slowly. “I don’t know…”

“Just forget about it, she isn’t worth getting worked up over,” Kyle shrugged his shoulders before looking back up to Heather with a small smirk. He patted the couch next to him as Heather came over and took a seat next to him. “I got these doughnuts for you, you’re going to eat one right?”

“Do you know how many calories are in there Kyle?” Heather questioned seeing the way that Kyle laughed at her remark. “I’m serious, I eat one of those and I will be a fat cow.”

“Then I’ll be you’re double fat cow,” Kyle chuckled reaching into the bag to pull a doughnut out. He waved it in front of her face, watching as her green eyes followed it’s every move. “I know you want it. Come on Heather.”

“No, I can’t. Kyle, those things have too much…” Heather was cut off as Kyle shoved the doughnut into her mouth, making her words come to a direct stop.

“Just eat the doughnut,” he let out another small laugh, grabbing his own doughnut as he leaned back into the couch. He saw her chew on it as he smirked at the way she ate it. “Good, isn’t it? Very tasty.”

“Of course, it actually is really good. I think I miss these,” Heather informed Kyle, swallowing down a piece of the doughnut. She looked over at Kyle before taking another bite of the doughnut. “We have a lot of catching up to do.”


Hart paced around the hospital a frown touching over his lips as he looked at the time. It had been over an hour since he’d last checked in with the nurse and still he hadn’t been given a satisfying answer as to what was happening with Brant. Turning around again Hart began to pace in the other direction.

“You know you could sit down,” Jenna suggested having stayed at Hart’s side since she’d heard the news about his friend’s collapse. While the details were still sketchy on what had happened, Jenna was convinced that there was really no other place she should be than with Hart, “You’re going to put a hole in the floor.”

“I just don’t understand why no one at this hospital knows anything,” Hart frowned in response, “though I’m willing to bet you whatever it was that happened to him was brought on by that jerk your friend is involved with.”

“Russ?” Jenna repeated with a surprised expression, “Hart I’m sure that Russ wouldn’t do anything to hurt him.”

“No, nothing more than try to steal his wife away from him,” Hart threw his hands up in the air, “He’s a real great guy.”

“Actually he is,” Jenna stood up with a frown, “Hart, I realize Brant is your best friend and Avery’s mine. I’ve grown up with her and Russ and I know them well enough to know that they wouldn’t go out of their way to hurt Brant.”

“Yet he’s the one who is in the hospital right now and Russ is off breaking that restraining order,” Hart reminded her pointedly, “Sounds pretty convenient if you ask me.”

“Look Hart as much as I hate to say it, what has been happening with Brant, Avery and Russ isn’t our business, nor will it be our business considering all the emotional issues involved. I love Avery don’t get me wrong, but this is for them to sort out, not for us to pass judgment on.”

“Jenna it’s just…” Hart sighed heavily before nodding his head, “I know you’re right, but he’s been my best friend most of my life. I’m just worried about him.”

“And that I can understand,” she replied reaching out to embrace him, “I’m sure that Brant is going to be okay. I know he’s had a lot on his plate lately, but…”

“You don’t know the half of it,” Hart confessed with an ironic laugh, “I mean here I was surprised to learn that I had a daughter, but now Brant has to deal with the fact that he has a new brother.”

“A new brother,” Jenna gave him a strange look.

“Oh you haven’t heard the news yet huh? Well let me be the first to enlighten you,” Hart blurted out with a pinched expression, “Russ is not only your pal, but he’s an Ashford. Turns out that Brant was unfortunate enough to be reminded once again that Nicholas was good for nothing like my father was and Russ is the result of one of his overzealous affairs. The Dentons just decided to keep a lid on it until Shannon felt compelled to share that news with the rest of the world to hurt Brant.”

“Why would she do that,” Jenna replied with a puzzled expression, “How would she know?”

“It’s a long story,” Hart rubbed his neck while taking a step back, “One that I really don’t want to get into right now considering it’s not important. What is important is how Brant is doing right now. I’m worried about him Jen especially since no one is giving me any answers right now. All he wanted was to be happy, yet he‘s getting this…”

“Hart, I’m sure that he’ll be okay,” she touched his arm gently, “I know he’s dealing with a lot, but he’ll pull through this situation no matter how it turns out.”

“If he loses Avery, I don’t know how it’s going to turn out for him,” Hart revealed with a worried expression, “She’s important to him and she’s something he’s wanted for a long time…”

“I understand that, but right now there’s more involved in all of this than just Brant, Avery and Russ. Erin factors into this and they all need to think about what’s best for her.”

“Which I’m guessing if they go that route, you’d think that Avery should be with Russ,” Hart stated flatly, “considering they are her parents.”

“I do think that a child’s parents should try to work things out,” she nodded in response watching his face darken.

“So in that theory Beth and I should’ve got back together for Sam’s sake if you weren’t pregnant,” Hart replied stubbornly trying to disprove what she was saying.

“What I’m saying Hart is that in most cases when two parents love one another and want to be together, then I don’t see why they shouldn’t be,” she scowled up at him before taking in a long, slow breath, “but right now I don’t want to talk about them. I want to talk about you--about what happened with Sam.”

“Jen, I really don’t think that now…” he started apprehensively.

“Hart, trust me. It’ll make the time pass quicker and I want to know what happened. She seemed okay when she left with Wayne, so I just thought I’d ask and…” she began hoping to distract him for a while.

“I think she’s got a lot on her mind still, but with the anger she’s holding inside, I don’t think it’s directed at me,” Hart interrupted thinking about his daughter, “She said that she wants for us to have a chance at a relationship and I think that despite your mother’s thoughtless words it might end up being okay.”

Jenna smiled, “That’s what I wanted to hear. I was worried about you there Hart--about Sam too. I hated to see her upset and when I couldn‘t find her, I was afraid that she‘d be taking the news bad somewhere else.”

“Well, she wasn’t exactly thrilled, but I’m hoping that we can move forward somehow and get through this,” Hart confessed thinking about his daughter, “She really did seem okay when she left, right?”

“She seemed more than okay,” Jenna patted his arm gently, “In fact, why don’t you call her and check?”

“I don’t want to intrude. I mean I don’t want her thinking that I’m going to be a pest now that…” Hart replied nervously.

“Just do it. I’m sure it’ll make you both feel better,” Jenna encouraged him further reaching for her cell phone and handing it to him, “Just go outside, get some fresh air and take five minutes to talk to your daughter. It’ll help. Believe me.”

“Well…” Hart looked to the door across the hall again.

“Hart, I’ll stay here and see if I get any news on Brant. If I do I’ll come and find you, okay?” Jenna suggested further.

“Okay,” he finally nodded accepting her phone and taking a walk to the elevators in the hopes of clearing his mind for a little while about things that were happening around him. He just prayed that his friend would be okay when everything was said and done.


“I don’t like the fact that we haven’t heard anything,” Avery frowned thinking about all that had happened leading up to Brant being taken out of her hospital room. She turned her attention to Russ seeing him standing over by the window after all the commotion had come to an end.

“I’m sure he’s fine Avery,” Russ spun around to face her again, “Knowing Brant he’s probably annoying the hell out of some innocent victim that happened to get in his path. Hell, he could be working on another restraining order against me as we speak.”

“Russ, he was confused. He really didn’t mean to…” Avery started to defend Brant seeing the anger flash behind Russell’s eyes.

“Avery the man knew full well what he was doing when he had that restraining order put on me. He knew even more when he tried to get his buddies to lie and say that Erin was his daughter,” Russell’s voice grew with emotion, “At this point I say whatever he gets, he more than deserves.”

“Russ, he was just confused and besides, he’s your brother,” Avery blurted out seeing him shudder at her words.

“No he’s not,” Russell snapped back at her noting her wounded expression. He stepped in closer to her bed taking a seat beside her, “Avery, regardless of what we heard today, I am not an Ashford. That isn’t who I am…”

“But Shannon said that…” Avery trailed off confused by everything that had happened, “Did your parents say it was untrue? Russ?”

“I don’t want to talk about it. I don’t even want to think about that family,” Russell moved to get up off of the bed, but when he felt her hand on his, he turned to face her again, the truth behind his eyes.

“Oh Russ, honey,” Avery reached out to embrace him knowing full well how this news had to be hurting him, “I’m so sorry.”

“I just don’t understand any of it. I don’t know how this could have happened,” Russ replied hugging her tightly before clearing his throat, “but I’m not going to think about it. I’m going to focus on you and Erin and on how we’re going to find a way to get Brant out of our lives.”

“Russ, he really isn’t that bad,” Avery admitted in a small voice catching the look in his eyes.

“Not that bad? Avery the man tried to have me thrown out of the hospital. He lied to everyone and convinced his friend to change Erin’s paternity test so that he could get rid of me. He tried to keep me away from you with his father and…” Russ started to argue with her.

“Brant didn’t have anything to do with that. He wouldn’t do that Russ,” Avery defended Brant refusing to think the worst about him, “He’s not a monster like his father was.”

“Is Avery,” Russ corrected her, “The man ripped me out of that airport and locked me up. He tried to kill me--tried to take me from this world--from you and Erin and you can’t tell me that Brant didn’t play a hand in any of that. Brant’s wanted you from the start and with me out of the picture he was able to accomplish that, wasn’t he?”

“There were circumstances surrounding what happened Russ. Brooke tried to kill Erin and…” Avery began to remember the horrifying twist of fate.

“And Brant swept right in to play your hero. Yeah, he’s a real saint in getting rid of me and stealing my wife,” Russell snarled thinking about Brant’s obsession with Avery.

“He didn’t steal me Russ. I thought you were dead,” Avery argued further, “I was terrified and I didn’t know what to do. He offered me hope and the chance for a future and happiness…”

“And a life that would keep you away from me,” Russell sighed heavily reaching out to touch her shoulder, “I mean think about it Avery. Brooke did what she did and don’t you just find it a little bit too coincidental that Brant was the one that rushed in to your aid? After months of trying to rip us apart, he happens to come in when you’re most vulnerable and make you his wife. That doesn’t add up to me.”

“It all happened so fast and it wasn’t his fault. I needed to protect Grady and I realized it was our only choice. I did it to protect myself--to protect Erin and help Grady find a way out of jail,” Avery continued to further explain, “It was something that we had to do in order to keep me out of jail where I am sure I would’ve lost Erin forever.”

“And now?” Russ couldn’t help but ask thinking about what he’d witnessed between Brant and Avery when he walked in, “What about now? Is that why you’re still together?”

“Russ I,” Avery started finding herself at a loss when the door to her room opened and a nurse walked in with Erin in her arms.

“It’s feeding time mommy,” the nurse explained with a proud smile bringing Erin over towards Avery, “She’s been wanting you for a while now. When they said her daddy was in here, I thought it might be a good time for a family reunion.”

“I can take it from here,” Russ replied rising to his feet and reaching for his daughter. He cradled Erin in his arms feeling the warmth of her little body in his hold. Just looking at her reminded him all over again of all the reasons why he and Avery were meant to be. He couldn’t help but smile before leaning in to kiss the top of her tiny head, “Hey beautiful I missed you.”

“Let me see her,” Avery urged stretching her arms out for her daughter, “Russ I want to look at her considering it’s already been so long.”

“What do you say Erin?” Russ smiled down at her daughter before carefully moving in beside Avery, “Should we take the time to see mommy?”

Erin let out a small yawn before Russ carefully set her in Avery’s arms. Erin seemed to melt into her with great ease as Avery was overcome with tears.

“Oh Russ, she’s every bit as beautiful as I remember,” Avery confessed thinking back to giving birth to Erin at the cabin. She looked up at Russ with tear-filled eyes and let out a small sob of her own, “How could someone want to hurt her?”

“I don’t know, but I promise you that no one is going to hurt her or you ever again,” Russ scooted in beside Avery on the small bed. He wrapped his arm around her shoulders before offering his finger to Erin, who now greedily took it between her tiny lips. Russ chuckled lightly, “I think she’s really hungry there.”

“And you’re just not cutting it are you,” Avery watched their daughter curl her lip in a pout before breaking into a tiny cry.

“Bottle time,” Russ decided reaching for the bottle that the nurse had set on the table for her.

“Actually,” Avery spoke up again drawing in a small breath, “the doctor cleared me last night. I can start nursing her here since everything checked out okay. Bruce didn’t give us anything that would harm either one of us.”

“Are you sure,” Russ questioned uneasily watching her face closely, “You sure you’re ready for something like that?”

“Honestly no,” Avery laughed lightly looking to their daughter, “but at this point, well they say each new experience is something you learn as you go with here.”

Russ nodded rubbing his fingers over her back gently, “Anything I can do to help here?”

“Keep that close to you just in case things don’t pan out,” Avery suggested motioning to the bottle in his hand.

“I’m sure they’ll work out fine,” Russell spoke up reassuringly keeping them close to him, “She’s pretty smart after all.”

“Of course she is,” Avery tilted her head to smile up at him, “She’s ours.”

“Yes, she is,” Russ leaned down to steal a kiss from her lips, “and I’m so very thankful for that--for all of this.”

“So am I,” Avery replied hearing little Erin let out a small cry alerting the both of them that she wasn’t about to be ignored.

“You sure there isn’t anything else I can do honey,” Russ questioned feeling Erin bite down on his finger again unrelenting in her movement.

“If anything changes, I’ll let you know,” Avery assured him adjusting her hospital gown a bit.

“Hey if she’s anything like me, she’ll take to you right away. I know I had no problems with you when I saw you naked the first time and…” Russ paused catching the small glare from Avery, “You know what I mean. What I’m saying is that since she’s my daughter, she’ll have no problems moving in and hitting her mark so to speak…”

“I get the point,” Avery laughed lightly looking down to Erin with a small smile.

“And just for the record,” Russ whispered in the back of her ear feeling her tense up a bit with nervousness, “You’re still beautiful as ever Avery.”

“What does that have to do with anything,” she wrinkled her nose at him offering up a small laugh.

“I just thought I’d let you know,” Russ replied with a thoughtful expression, “how lucky I feel being with the two most beautiful women in the world right now. This is something I‘ve waited forever to share with you Avery. I‘ve wanted this for us all my life.”

“So have I Russ. It’s our dream come true,” she promised situating Erin in her arms as the three of them shared a moment with one another away from the rest of the craziness in the hospital for a little while.


“Knock, knock,” Richard stood in the doorway for Brooke’s room at the nursing home he had put her in a while back. He saw Brooke turn her head to look back at him in her wheel chair. “So, Brooke how are you feeling lately?”

“Richard,” Brooke spoke up in a small whisper, seeing Richard walk over to her bed and sit down on the edge of it as he looked over at her. “Are coming to take me out of this horrible place yet? I have had it up to here with…”

“You’re going to have to handle it even more,” Richard snapped loudly, seeing the way that Brooke’s eyes widened at the tone he was speaking to her with. “We need to have a little talk right about now.”

“I agree with you,” Brooke nodded slowly, taking in a deep breath as she turned her wheel chair to look Richard over slowly. “I think it is about time you start looking for a place. I need to get out of this place. It is driving me crazy.”

“Everything always has to be about you, doesn’t it?” Richard questioned with an angered tone, watching the way that Brooke looked up at him like she had no idea what he was talking about. “Everything always has to be about what you want, what you think you deserve. Don’t you ever think about the other people in your life?”

“Of course I…” Brooke went to answer before hearing Richard cut her off, making her place her hand over her chest as she heard the tone he was talking to her in.

“Bull,” he shook his head slowly, standing up from the edge of the bed and walking over towards the window. “You would think that you would let someone be happy for at least once. Your family deserves happiness and they already have enough things to deal with in life. How dare you try and ruin everything our family has tried to work to get to.”

“I don’t understand what you are talking about,” Brooke stuttered, trying to think of the anger that could have gotten Richard started on her like this. “What has you talking to me like this Richard? Why are you yelling at me? What could I have done so bad?”

“Everything you do in your life is bad because all you care about is yourself, you’re a snake and a liar Brooke,” he pointed out with a small scowl, kneeling down in front of Brooke. “If you don’t know what I am talking about--then I will fill you in.”

“Please do because I would like to know why I am getting yelled at for no apparent reason,” Brooke nodded slowly, seeing Richard scoot in closer to her. “So?”

“How about our daughter?” Richard offered up mentioning one of the names of the many people she tried to ruin. “Maybe Russell or hey, even their daughter Erin. Did you ever stop once to think about them and not yourself?”


Ken rushed into the hospital looking around and wondering what in the world was going on after the very cryptic call he’d received from the hospital alerting him that he was needed there. Spotting Don over near the far end of the hall Ken reached for Wendy’s hand and glanced over his shoulder at her.

“Follow me,” he suggested moving with her over to where Don stood. Seeing Don looking rather perplexed Ken called out to him, “Don hey.”

“Ken,” Don looked up to see Ken and Wendy before him, “how’s it going?”

“It would be going a lot better if I knew what was going on. I got this phone call telling me I was needed at the hospital--that Brant was in some kind of trouble, that that’s all there was to it. No one is saying anything about what’s going on,” Ken informed him with a heavy sigh, “So do you have any idea what that’s about?”

“Well for starters it turns out that Bruce tried to kill Avery, then she went into labor and had her daughter. After that there have been nothing but a series of bad events that followed,” Don informed Ken with a small frown, “Brant isn’t exactly taking that news lightly about what’s happened with Avery and then to add insult to injury everything seems to be working against Brant here. Things aren’t looking good in the respect that…”

“That what?” Ken questioned as Don’s glance moved beyond where Ken was standing to where Wendy was.

“I can see that you two are doing well,” Don smiled proudly a thoughtful expression clouding over his face, “Given that you both are together I think it’s safe to say that things are going good.”

“That they are,” Wendy admitted squeezing Ken’s arm gently. “We’ve been able to talk about things and so far, so good.”

“I’m glad to hear it,” Don smiled proudly, “And to think you wanted to beat me there when I tried to make that happen for you.”

“It wasn’t that I don’t appreciate what you did Don, but rather I didn’t really enjoy your um kissing me there.”

“Oh you loved it,” Don couldn’t help but tease with a goofy grin, “You probably were hoping I’d slip you the tongue, but we were in a church.”

“If you would’ve tried that, I’m certain I would’ve killed you,” Ken warned him pointedly, “but for what it’s worth…thank you for saving me from making the biggest mistake of my life.”

“To see you two together like this, it was well worth it,” Don smiled proudly glad that his efforts to help Brant had paid off. “Now as for Brant, what I was trying to say before is I have no clue what’s going on. I just got in, but I’ll take a look around and see what I can find out for you.”

“Thanks Don,” Ken offered up appreciatively seeing Don rushing off to check on things with Brant. Turning to Wendy, Ken wrapped his arms around her gently, “How are you feeling?”

“I’m okay,” she placed her hand tenderly on his chest, “How are you holding up?”

“Truthfully I feel like I’ve been out of the loop with my family for a long time,” Ken sighed heavily thinking about all of the things that had happened over the last few months. “I just hope I’m not too far out there to find my way back.”

“Given how things were when Brant came looking for me I’d say that maybe you’re not as out of the loop as you think you are. He loves you Ken,” Wendy offered up encouragingly as Ken wondered if there was a way to repair all of the damage that had been done over the last year between him and his family. He was hoping that some of his former sins could be cleared away in the hopes of a new beginning with everyone now that he was getting his life back on track again.


Kevin peaked his head out of the bathroom door as he took a look around Ria’s bedroom to see if he could see her. There was no sight of her as he let out a small sigh of relief before he shut the door slowly behind him. He had just gotten out of the shower and he needed a few minutes alone to get a way to try and get this horrible rash off his body. The ones with the horrible words that…

“This has to work,” Kevin frowned running his hand through his wet hair as he grabbed another towel and wrapped it around his shoulders. Kevin took another look back behind him before going into the medicine cabinet and pulling out the cream he went out very early in the morning to get while Ria was still sleeping. He turned the box around to look it over before letting out another deep sigh. “How is this thing going to work?”

Kevin looked down towards his rash, a small hiss escaped his lips as he looked at the words spread over his abdomen. It had been so bad for him trying to hide it from Ria last night, that he even had to turn off the lights when he made love to her. There was no way he was going to let her see this--he would be a dead man.

“I can’t let her see this,” Kevin repeated to himself, pulling out the tube of cream from the box. He looked it over before taking off the lid, his head rising to look at his rash in the mirror. “I guess here goes nothing.”

“What are you doing?” Ria questioned placing her hands on Kevin’s shoulders, seeing the way he jumped back and away from her, dropping the tube onto the ground. “Is something wrong?”

“No,” Kevin fell back against the bath tub, grabbing the towel from his shoulders quickly and pulling the towel in over his stomach and his chest. “Everything is absolutely perfect. There couldn’t be a thing wrong right now.”

“What’s this?” Ria picked up the tube on the floor as Kevin’s eyes got wide at how she was looking it over. It had been obvious that she hadn’t seen his rash, but now he was certainly a dead man walking. “Is something wrong?”

“Well,” Kevin saw Ria set the tube down on the counter as he shook his head slowly. There had to be a lie he could tell her that wasn’t totally a lie. Maybe he could tell her the truth, maybe she would believe him. Oh hell, who was he kidding? There was no way that Ria was going to believe him with a thing like this. He had to tell her something believable. “Well actually, my tattoo on my stomach is kind of bothering me so I went out and bought that before I came here the other day.”

“Your tattoo?” Ria repeated his words seeing him nod slowly as she shrugged her shoulders and took a step in closer to him. “Let me take a look at it, I can give you my professional opinion.”

“Oh no,” Kevin fell back into her tub as he let out a small groan grabbing onto the back of his head. He slowly rose to his feet in her bathtub, still holding one of his towels in front of his chest and his abdomen so Ria couldn’t see his chest. “I looked at it and I think it looks fine. You have nothing to worry about.”

“Just let me see it Kevin,” Ria laughed walking over towards Kevin and grabbing the towel in her hands before hearing the doorbell. “Hold that thought.”

“I won’t hold any thought because I don’t want to get killed,” Kevin shook his head, saved by whoever it was at the door. Kevin would have to pay them back big time later, whatever it took he would pay them back.

Kevin grabbed the tube off the counter and squeezed some of the cream on his fingers, rubbing it in against his chest and abdomen before running into the bedroom.

“I’m sorry Ria,” Kevin apologized feeling bad for the way he was acting, trying to hide the rash from her, but he didn’t want to get killed for something he truly didn’t do. Kevin pulled a black tank top on quickly before grabbing his shorts from the bed. He threw his towel off and pulled on his pants quickly before letting out a deep sigh. At least for now he was safe, now was the main word. “Ria?”

“Out here,” Ria called out to Kevin as Kevin walked out in the hallway to see Trisha standing in front of the door with Ria. “I guess we have some plans for this morning.”

“Trisha, I am so glad you came here this morning,” Kevin reached out to Trisha hugging her tightly in his arms before letting her go. “What kind of plans do we have this morning?”

“Well, I got a call from Chase earlier today and he asked me if I would go to breakfast with him, so I said yes,” Trisha informed Kevin, seeing the way he folded his arms out in front of his broad chest. “You know, I didn’t want to seem cheap or easy like that, so I decided to invite you two to breakfast. Of course Ria already told me it was alright.”

“Great, now I am spending the rest of my morning with Claude--how great is that going to be?” Kevin mocked Trisha before shaking his head slowly and leaning back against the wall. “I don’t like something about this Claude guy.”

“His name is Chase,” Trisha informed Kevin with a small frown, reaching out to tug on his arm roughly. Kevin let out a deep laugh as she pulled him towards the door. “You have to do this one thing for me Kevin.”

“Claude--I mean Chase can wait,” Kevin pointed out with a small shake of his head, looking down at what he was wearing. “I might need some shoes before we go.”

“Fine, just hurry up Kevin because I don’t want you ruining this,” Trisha frowned watching Kevin slowly walk over towards the bedroom. “Hurry your butt up.”


Angela walked out of the guest bedroom finding her senses seduced by the faint aroma of whatever it was Chris was working on in the kitchen. While she’d been having a lazy morning, something about the scent had pulled her from her bed and caused her to join him in the oversized kitchen. Sure enough he was at the stove working on more things than Angela could even begin to imagine right in front of her.

“Chris, what are you doing?” Angela questioned eyeing him curiously.

“Making breakfast for the two of us--or should I say the four of us,” he smiled at her before offering up a playful wink. He nodded over to the toaster, “Could you go over there? The toast is almost finished.”

“Of course,” Angela laughed lightly seeing the toast pop up in front of her.

“So did you sleep well?” Chris questioned focusing his energies on the stove in front of him, “The bed comfortable?”

“Yes and yes,” she replied setting the toast onto a plate beside the toaster, “Would you like me to butter these?”

“Sure, if you’d like,” he nodded pulling one pan off of the stovetop, “This is almost finished here.”

“Whatever it is, it smells incredible,” Angela smiled back at him, “I guess some things never change.”

“If you’re referring to my being an amazing cook, nope that’s only improved since we’ve last seen one another. You’re going to love what I whipped up this morning. It’s kind of like something we had when we were younger--you know back when we were still together and life was fun and exciting?” he explained depositing the food onto two plates.

“Life is still fun and exciting, but I think we’re just getting too old to enjoy it nearly as much as we did back then,” she replied with a small smile carrying the plate she had over to the table.

“Oh we can still enjoy it,” Chris walked over to join her, “but we’ll have to find new ways to do that. Though I have no doubt in my mind that we’ll have plenty of ideas if we put our heads together. You and I can always get the party started…”

“That we can,” Angela replied unable to keep from surveying all that Chris had made for her, “God this looks incredible. I don’t even know where to start on this.”

“How about with a little bit of everything?” Chris pointed to the plate in front of him, “Bacon perhaps?”

“I think I’ll pass,” she replied wrinkling her nose at his offering, “I’ve never been big on bacon there Chris.”

“Fine more for me. I’ll just clog my arteries up here while you take a different route with something not nearly as tasty or as bad for you,” he teased depositing the bacon onto his plate there instead. “What else can I get you?”

“Some juice would be a great start,” she decided reaching for the pitcher of orange juice.

“It’s freshly squeezed,” Chris explained holding it out to her and he noticed the disbelieving look on her face, “At least that’s what the can said.”

“That’s what I thought,” she laughed lightly pouring herself a glass to drink.

“Hey what can I say? I might not be as good as everything as I claim to be, but when I put my mind to making something special I bring out the very best,” he reached out across the table to squeeze her hand gently, “Especially for you.”

“I’ll bet you use that line on all of the girls Chris,” she shook her head at him laughing lightly.

“Well actually, no not all of them, but a fair amount of them,” he confided with a small laugh, “How horrible is that for me to say it?”

“If you would’ve tried to deny it, I would’ve known you were lying to me,” she countered with a small grin, “but enough about me. What about you? What is it you’re really doing in Coral Valley?”

“You mean being bored out of my mind in this one horse town?” he groaned rolling his eyes at the place he’d found himself in, “Truthfully I’m running a newspaper.”

“A newspaper. Really?” her eyes widened in response, “That’s certainly a change for you.”

“Yeah well, what can I say I was tempted by the offer and now that I think about it, the woman that hired me, well she was very intriguing,” Chris scratched his chin lightly.

“Now why doesn’t that surprise me,” Angela groaned inwardly, “It’s always about women with you.”

“No, but this one she was well, the strangest thing. She looked just like…” Chris started to explain, but his words were cut off by the faint ringing of Angela’s cell phone.

“Damn and just when I thought no one could find me,” Angela reached into her robe pocket with an apologetic expression, “It’s probably Kevin looking for me.”

“Tell him I said thank you for leaving us alone last night long enough for me to rock your world,” Chris winked at her catching her small glare. “I’m just saying.”

“Well don’t. Behave,” she warned answering the phone with a smile, “Hello.”

“Angel hey sweetheart where are you?” Cameron’s voice questioned on the other end of the line, “I’ve been trying to reach you at the office and…”

“I’m not at the office,” Angela sucked in a small breath silently mouthing the word Cameron to Chris before she walked out of the kitchen to talk to her brother.

Chris nodded leaning back in his chair after she left. While he was beyond thrilled about having her back, he knew that she wasn’t going to be too happy once she got off the phone with Cameron. No doubt he’d upset her one way or another and he would never hear the end of it.

“Good old Cam,” Chris frowned thinking about Angela’s overbearing older brother. He was almost as much of a pain in the butt as Kevin…well, almost. Sighing Chris reached out to turn on the television he had set up on the countertop just in time to see a news brief on Brant Ashford. Turning it up just a bit Chris listened to the reporter recount the tale of Bruce Mathis’s nightmare to Brant’s run in with a very much alive Russ at the hospital. The reporter went on to question whether or not Brant and Avery had a future now that Russell Denton was alive. Classic tabloid gossip at it’s best.

“Not a chance. It’s over pal because she’s going to dump you like a hot potato,” Chris mused with a proud grin reaching out to turn the television off just in time to hear Angela reenter the kitchen.

“Who are you plotting ill-will against now?” she couldn’t help but ask watching him turn around to smile at her brightly.

“Just some annoying little creep who deserves it,” Chris explained with a growing level of glee, “He’s that loser that caused me to lose my job in Los Angeles.”

“Chris, it’s been like five years already--maybe more, why are you even worrying about it?” she sighed plopping down in the chair again. “He’s not worth it.”

“No, he’s not, but I have to admit I can’t wait to see him squashed like a bug. It’s nothing less than what he deserves,” Chris pinched his fingers at the air in front of him.

“Chris, sweetie you’re going to have to learn to let it go. I’m sure he has,” she tried to reason with him.

“Believe me he hasn’t. I had a run in with the jackass not so long ago and…” he stopped himself mid-sentence, “I’m doing it again, aren’t I?”

“You mean being obsessive about something that you can’t change,” she nodded leaning in over the table, “Yes, you are and it’s very counterproductive.”

“In that case, forget about my wanting to get revenge on the brat and let’s talk about Cameron. What was on big brother’s mind this morning?” he inquired leaning forward to match her earlier movement at the table.

“He had another call,” she sighed heavily, “but I know that when he gets back with me later, I’m not going to be able to avoid it much longer. I have to tell him I’m pregnant. I mean he is my brother and he has a right to know he’s going to be an uncle.”

“I suppose, but are you sure you’re ready for that one,” Chris wondered aloud worried about the expression on her face.

“Unfortunately I don’t have a choice because in the next month or so I won’t be able to hide it like I’ve been doing,” she motioned to her abdomen, “I’ve already swollen up a bit there in the stomach and I can’t just blame it on your good cooking.”

“Well you could, but hey you know my offer still holds up from before. If you want me to say I’m responsible for what happened, I will. That way Cameron can give me grief instead of you,” Chris reached out to squeeze her hand gently. “You know I’d do it.”

“I know, but this time, well this time I have to act like a grown up for a change and be honest,” she sighed heavily.

“Well I suppose you could, but if you think about it I’m the one who dropped George’s name to you and…” Chris began again.

“And he was a complete ass, but I’m sure you’re not surprised about that. However,” Angela cracked a small smile, “That week had it’s perks.”

“And you’ve got living proof growing inside of you,” Chris added catching her glare. He held his hands up in the air, “I’m just saying.”

“Yeah well whether or not it ended sourly, there was just something about him--something that I can’t help but think about every now and then. He was in a word,” Angela divulged knowing that admitting it made her completely insane, “remarkable.”

“Nah, I doubt it. You’re the remarkable one. He was probably just some idiot who never deserved you in the first place,” Chris decided reaching for another piece of bacon, “It’s truly his loss.”

“I suppose,” she sighed picking at the piece of toast before her, “but when it gets down to it, well, I guess I’ll always wonder what if…”

“What if what? What if you could take that back? What if you could see him again?” Chris wiggled his brow at her, “Is that what’s on your mind?”

“Sometimes,” she admitted with a small smile, “Stupid, isn’t it?”

“No, not at all,” he squeezed her hand again before offering her a bite of his eggs, “I just wish it had gone differently for you Angel.”

“Yeah, you and me both,” she sighed realizing that there was no turning back--only forward. Brant was the past. Nick was the past and it was time to prove to herself that she could make it without some kind of man in the picture once and for all.


“We do have a lot of catching up to do, you’re right,” Kyle agreed seeing Heather going to take another bite of her doughnut as he leaned forward and grabbed the other half of the doughnut with his teeth and pulled it away from her. He let out a small laugh as he took a bite of her doughnut, seeing her eyes widen. “What?”

“Excuse me, but I think that was my doughnut,” Heather frowned seeing Kyle let out another small laugh. “You always used to do that to me when we were kids. Why did you do that?”

“You were complaining about calories, so I just cut it right in half for you,” Kyle shrugged, letting out a small chuckle as he finished off her doughnut popping the last piece into his mouth. “See, half the calories for half the doughnut.”

“What if I wanted the whole thing?” Heather watched Kyle reach for another doughnut and he held it up to her lips. She took a bite of it as Kyle smirked and took the next bite.

“You can have it now,” Kyle wiggled his eyebrows up and down at her, a small smirk appearing over his lips as she took the doughnut and ate it up quickly. “See, I told you that once I got started on these things with you--you couldn’t stop eating them.”

“And I hate you for that,” Heather joked for a second before her expression became serious. “So, what happened Kyle? What happened to you?”

“I fought off Bruce, I thought there was a possibility he was going to kill my best friends and I couldn’t let that happen,” Kyle explained, caught on his words feeling her hand slide in against the side of his arm.

“You were always the bravest person I knew, the bravest person I still know,” Heather pointed out, her green eyes looking up into Kyle’s as he let out a small sigh. “Did he hurt you?”

“I got stabbed, but I‘m living,” Kyle nodded, seeing the worried expression that spread through Heather’s face as he rolled up his sleeve to show her the cut he had gotten on his arm. “He also got me in the thigh.”

“Oh my. Where is it?” Heather questioned putting her hand on Kyle’s leg, feeling him grab her fingers in his. He led her hand over the sensitive spot on his outer thigh, biting down on his bottom lip as she looked up at him. “Are you going to be okay?”

“I’m fine,” Kyle tried to assure her, his voice tight from the pain he was still feeling in his thigh. “I mean, I only got twenty-two stitches in my thigh and eight on my arm, but that’s okay.”

“Okay Kyle? I would be crying, you usually would too. I know you hate needles,” Heather pointed out, seeing the smile that appeared over his lips. She let out a small frown as she looked at the wound on his arm, blowing on it gently. “That looks so bad Kyle.”

“It’s better than the stitches I got on my chin when I was younger. You know, the time we were jumping on the bed together and I fell,” Kyle reminded her, seeing the way her eyes got big. “I’ll take that as a yes.”

“You scared me so bad that time,” she remembered the worry she had inside of her when Kyle had gone to the doctors and had to get stitches. “I totally forgot about that.”

“Why do you think I keep the whole goatee, beard thing?” Kyle questioned turning his head in closer to her so she could see the scar easier. “I mean, it helps hide the scar.”

“Would you look at that,” Heather gazed at the scar on the side of his chin, running her fingertips over it slowly. “You can hardly see it. I’m glad my surgery didn’t leave anything like that. I was ugly when I was burned, imagine how ugly I would have been with all those scars.”

“Heather,” Kyle frowned reaching out to caress her cheek gently with his thumb, seeing her lean into his touch. “Don’t talk like that, you were always beautiful--to this day. When you were burned, I didn’t understand why you were so upset, you’re so beautiful. It’s the inside that counts and I know you're gorgeous on the inside. You’re just as beautiful on the out--including the time you were burned.”

“Please Kyle, everyone found me hideous when I was burned,” Heather pointed out with a small laugh as she felt Kyle’s index finger slide in underneath her chin to make her look up into his dark eyes. “You are no different than the others, I could tell you didn’t want to be around me.”

“You want to make a bet about that? I always love being around you Heather, that‘s a ridiculous excuse. I know you of all people know I‘m not like the rest of the world,” Kyle‘s eyes searched her, his eyebrows tensing as a thought of a past moment ran through his mind.

Kyle took a seat next to Heather’s hospital bed, scooting the chair in closer to the bed as he looked her over slowly. He had told Sarah that he was going out for work, but the reason he had left was because he was worried about Heather.

Kyle reached out to brush a piece of Heather’s hair out of her face and behind her ear as he watched her sleep. She looked so peaceful, so happy. Not like she was when she was awake and worried about the burns on her face.

“Kyle?” Heather’s eyes partially opened as Kyle’s dark eyes looked up at her. “What are you doing here? Shouldn’t you be with Sarah right now?”

“No sweetheart,” Kyle hushed running his thumb in under her chin gently, feeling her hand settle in again his. “I’m with you right now, not Sarah. I’m worried about you.”

“I’m scared Kyle,” Heather confessed in a tight whisper, feeling Kyle get up as she let out a small frown. “Please don’t leave me like everyone else did.”

“I wasn’t planning on it,” Kyle sat on the bed next to Heather, scooting back just enough to wrap his arm around her shoulders. He ran his hand through her blonde hair slowly, seeing her green eyes look up into his. “It’s going to be okay, just try and rest. You are going to be okay. I promise.”

“Thank you Kyle,” Heather whispered resting her head against Kyle’s chest, feeling Kyle hold onto her tightly. “I knew I could count on you.”

“Always sweetheart, I’ll never leave you alone,” Kyle assured her, kissing her forehead gently as he watched her eyes close and soon she drifted off back to sleep.

Heather obviously didn’t remember the nights he had spent at her bedside while everyone else was gone. He spent so many nights next to her bed, just wanting to make sure she was going to be okay. Sure, he had lied to Sarah for certain reasons in the past, but they were all for something good. Before Heather would wake, Kyle would always leave, but he spent plenty of hours next to her during the nights. Heather couldn’t be left without someone to count on in life, she couldn’t have someone who would always turn her away from their life completely.

“When I looked at you when you were burned, I didn’t see some burnt up freak that you make yourself sound like,” Kyle’s other hand slid in against hers, holding it tightly in his hand. “I saw a beautiful woman that was strong enough to survive a horrible accident. Believe it or not, I saw past everything you worried about. You’re beautiful Heather, whether you believe it or not. When you were worried about your face, it never bothered me sweetheart. Every time I look at you I see the teenager I always used to hang out and have sleepovers with. I saw the teenage Heather that I was…”

“You were,” Heather saw Kyle look down towards the ground before looking back up at her. “What were you about to say?”

“It’s not important,” Kyle spoke up in a tight voice before letting out a small sigh. “I mean hey, you have a beautiful face--look at me. I have this scar on my chin and…”

“You’re face is perfect Kyle,” she ran her hand over the side of his face as she saw a smile appear over his lips. “You’ve always been hot. You should know that.”

“I don’t know about that, but…” Kyle chuckled feeling her hand slide in against the side of his neck as he let out a tiny chuckle. “I’m okay I guess.”

“Okay? Compared to most guys in Coral Valley--you beat them by at least three hundred miles in the looks department,” Heather pointed out with a small shake of her head as her gaze dropped down to the chain around Kyle’s neck and she reached out to touch it gently. “You still have the chain I gave you?”

“I’ve never taken it off,” Kyle explained leaning back and away from her as he cleared his throat. A small smile appeared over her lips as Kyle took a sip of his orange juice. “It’s been there since I was sixteen, I’m almost afraid to take it off.”

“I know what you mean,” Heather nodded slowly as Kyle watched her with his dark eyes. She ran her hand in over her stomach as Kyle watched her closely. “I feel the same way about that thing you got me.”

“The thing I got you?” Kyle muttered seeing her nod slowly as a small smile appeared over his lips. He looked down towards the ground before his dark eyes met her green eyes. “I think it would be kind of hard to get rid of something like that Heather. I think it’s kind of permanent.”

“In you saying that, I would assume you still have yours too,” Heather pointed out seeing Kyle nod slowly as she let out a small laugh. “You didn’t try and get it off somehow?”

“Now why would I want to do that? I mean, sure I really don’t like the things, but this one is important to me. Anyways, it‘s small and close to my heart--my blood flow. You think I am going to get rid of something so important?” Kyle looked down towards his wrist before letting out a small smirk. “Have many people noticed it or are they all blind when it comes to certain things like that?”

“Most are blind, you?” Heather saw Kyle nod slowly as she reached out to grab his wrist and went to take his watch off before he stopped her. “Come on, let me see it.”

“No one has noticed it, they are all blind when it comes to it Heather. They usually care about one thing and it‘s not what you‘re trying to look at. If you want to see it, we have to make a deal,” Kyle informed her, his eyebrow arching up in curiosity as her green eyes looked up at him when began to speak up again. “I’ll only show you mine, if you show me yours.”

“That’s not fair,” Heather frowned seeing the way that Kyle smirked upon seeing her frown. “Yours is much easier to see, come on.”

“Nope,” Kyle shook his head, seeing Heather reach out for something on the coffee table. He felt a doughnut smash in against his face and his lips as he let out a small chuckle. “What was that for?”

“Pay back is a bitch Kyle,” Heather muttered only to feel Kyle push her back against the couch as he got in over her.

“Yeah, well so it tickle torture,” Kyle replied untying her robe before starting to tickle at her sides roughly. He heard her laugh out loudly as he continued to tickle her, hearing the outburst of laughter coming out of her mouth. “Say, I’m sorry Kyle and you‘re the sexiest guy I’ve ever met.”

“I will never say sorry Kyle,” Heather continued to laugh, feeling Kyle lean forward and brush the side of his cheek up against hers, making his small beard tickle her face. “Kyle, stop it. Kyle now. You know I can’t do this.”

“Say I’m sorry,” Kyle was going to hold true until she caved in and told him that she was sorry. He wasn’t going to let her go until he got that one…

“I’m sorry,” Kellen caught Kyle and Heather’s attention as they both turned to look at Kellen and Kipp walking into the house. Kellen‘s eyes widened as he looked over Kyle and Heather. Kyle’s body was settled in over Heather’s as he tickled at her sides and Heather’s robe was open while she had her hands against the center of Kyle’s chest. “Kyle, what are you doing here? Are you alone with Heather?”

“What’s going on in here?” Sarah walked into the living room as Kyle and Heather sat up straight on the couch and watched as Diego walked back into the room.

“Look, it’s the wicked witch,” Kellen muttered under his breath, feeling Kipp nudge him in the ribs, showing that Kipp must have heard Kellen. Only Kipp must have heard him because Kyle and Heather were looking at each other as Diego and Sarah were doing the same. “I’ll take that as a no for being alone.”

“Right, I’m here with Sarah,” Kyle cleared his throat, looking back at Sarah as he let out a small frown hearing the sudden crying of Charles from the back room.

“It’s time for mommy to get in there,” Heather got up from the couch, being followed by Kyle as she looked back at him. “What are you doing?”

“Maybe I can help you,” Kyle suggested with a small smile, seeing her turn around to face him. “I want to see the little guy, I might be a helping hand.”


Cheryl stood outside Avery’s hospital room taking a small look inside to see Russ and Avery with Erin. Turning away, she faced her husband again, a heavy sigh spilling over her lips.

“He looks happy,” she confessed quietly walking away from the room allowing her son to have some private time with his family, “I’m so glad he’s got Erin and Avery.”

“He has us too Cheryl,” Elliot reached out to touch her shoulder gently, “He’s just hurting right now…”

“I know, but this is my fault,” Cheryl closed her eyes fighting the tears that threatened to overtake her, “He’s never going to look at me the same way again. You could see how hurt he was--how upset and…”

“Listen to me,” Elliot turned her around to face him, “We’ve had this secret buried inside for a great many years now. That was partially my fault. You were the one who wanted to be honest with him--to tell him what had happened, but I was the one that kept pushing for us to keep this between us. I was the one who wasn’t ready to face the fact that my son was…”

“Elliot,” she spoke his name seeing a pained expression on his face. Knowing how hard this was for him only made it worse when she’d finally witnessed that pain behind Russell’s eyes as well.

“He’s still my son Cheryl,” Elliot insisted firmly refusing to let the past steal away that happiness that he’d held onto since the day Russ had come into their lives, “I’ve pushed that all behind me and I won’t let this change that…”

“I just wish that I could somehow erase the pain I put you through and…” Cheryl felt him reach out to touch her face gently.

“I have loved you from the first moment I saw you in that small little store near the water. You were there with your older brother grudgingly going fishing with him,” Elliot smiled sliding his fingers into her dark hair, “and even then you took my breath away. I knew from that first moment I saw you that you were the woman I was going to share the rest of my life with.”

“Elliot I…” she began poignantly thinking about all that they’d gone through over the years.

“We had our share of ups and downs, but even after Nicholas,” he confessed with a tight voice, “I never stopped loving you. I never stopped wanting to be with you and our family. I know that what happened was partially my fault. I was to blame for pushing you away after we lost our child Cheryl. I couldn’t deal with my own grief and I didn’t give you what you needed…”

“That’s where you were wrong. You were always the only thing I needed, but I was a fool. I let myself be seduced by something that I never should’ve opened myself up to,” she bit back on her words, “and even now Elliot, what Nicholas and I shared it was nothing like the love I feel for you. When I learned I was pregnant I prayed that Russ would be ours…”

“I know you did and so did I. More than anything I wanted to be his father. I wanted to share his life with him giving him all the love that we had with Grady. I wanted him to grow up to be a man we could be proud of--a man with morals and character and someone who let his heart and instincts be his guide. He is that man Cheryl. He’s everything I ever could’ve asked for in a son and as far as I’m concerned he is my son. He’ll always only be my son. Nicholas may have fathered him at a time when we were falling apart, but having Russ only strengthened our relationship--it added to our family and even now, well, knowing how this all turned around it doesn’t change that fact that we are family. We’ve always been family and that isn’t going to change. The Ashfords won’t be able to take that from us.”

“But if what Russ said was true…if Nick is still alive,” Cheryl’s eyes flashed with fear.

“He won’t touch him,” Elliot promised his jaw flexing with a spark of anger, “If even thinks about going after my boy again, I’ll kill him and this time he’ll say dead.”

“Elliot don’t say such things,” Cheryl gasped at his tone, “We both know that you can’t allow yourself to feel that way--to speak that way…”

“Cheryl that man tried to murder our son. No father would ever do that to his son, which only proves all the more that Russ is my child,” Elliot continued with a frown, “He saw that Russ was following his heart, but it didn’t fit into the Ashford plan. He tried to eliminate him and with Brooke’s help…”

“That woman can’t get away with this. When I think of all she’s done to Russ and to Avery,” Cheryl shook her head, “Maybe I have no room to talk given the level of deceptions I’ve kept going all these years.”

“On the contrary, you have plenty of room to talk. That woman murdered our grandchild and helped take our son away from us. We can’t just stand idle and let her get away with that. She has to be held accountable for her crimes,” Elliot decided knowing that sooner or later Brooke Morrison would get what was coming to her for all the pain and suffering she’d caused.


Deana walked into the lobby carrying a blanket and a cup of coffee with her as her eyes drifted to Grady, who was straining to get comfortable in the chair he’d been in for the last few hours. Saying nothing she approached him holding out the blanket and he coffee to him.

“Take your pick,” she suggested with a small smile, “The choice is yours on what to take first, but I’d probably go with the blanket considering that the coffee is less than top rate around this place.”

“I think I’ll take my chances,” Grady smiled up at her reaching for the Styrofoam cup. He took a small sip and wrinkled his nose at the bitterness of it.

“Don’t say you weren’t warned,” she offered him the blanket again, “You know this might help considering those chairs are hard as a rock.”

“You aren’t kidding,” he sighed heavily watching her take a seat beside him, “So tell me what are you doing here?”

“Other than my charity work for the day,” she smiled at him leaning back in one of the chairs, “I’m taking a bit of a break. It’s been a long shift.”

“Clearly,” he nodded in response, “You’ve been here longer than I have, haven’t you?”

“Unfortunately so,” she paused perking up just a bit as she sat up straighter, “but it’s not that I’m complaining. I love my job and working in Coral Valley, well it’s been wonderful thus far…”

“Which means you haven’t been here long enough to see what it’s truly like,” he grinned in response before sipping the less than savory coffee again in the hopes of braving it. “So where are you from?”

“Somewhere even less as exciting as this,” she replied with a hint of mystery in her tone.

“In other words it’s none of my business,” Grady noted with a curious expression.

“Pretty much,” she nodded in response offering up a small smile.

“Well despite the fact that you’re not giving any answers, I think your accent is a dead giveaway that you’re from somewhere down south,” he added with a knowing grin, “which is adorable by the way.”

“Adorable,” Deana laughed lightly at his word selection, “My you are feeling exhausted aren’t you? Usually it’s insults that come out of your mouth. Come to think of it, over the last twenty-four hours of knowing you I’ve heard more insults from your end than anyone else in Coral Valley.”

“Um, no correction,” Grady shook his head at her, “You’re the one who has been slinging insults at me. I’ve merely been trying to convince you that I’m not all that bad.”

“Well maybe you have me on that, but still, you are a bit cantankerous when the mood strikes you,” she added with a small grin. “Even you can’t argue that.”

“Tell me something, how am I going to have a chance with you when you won’t even allow me a moment to say thank you for what you’ve done to help Russ?” he questioned turning in his chair ever so slightly to face her, “What you did back there that was really amazing. You have no idea what it means…”

“You don’t have to thank me,” she waved her hand dismissively, “I was just doing my job.”

“No you were putting your job on the line there and taking a chance on someone you don’t even really know. That says something right there,” Grady explained taking note of the small flecks of green behind her dark brown eyes. “People these days don’t do things like that.”

“Where I come from they do,” she smiled at him, “and besides it was worth it when I walked by to see your niece with her momma and daddy. A family is very important in times of need.”

“That it is,” Grady nodded pondering how he’d thought he’d lost his brother not so long ago, “I honestly never believed that I’d see him again--that my baby brother was gone forever, but now, well now after all the pain and suffering, my family has been given a miracle.”

“One that you should embrace,” she added with a thoughtful expression, “Your brother seems like a really good guy.”

“He’s the best,” Grady smiled remembering all the wonderful times he’d shared with Russ, “He deserves a chance at holding onto his happiness. This is something he’s wanted for a very long time--to be with Avery and have Erin…”

“And I’m glad that I could help him get a step closer to that by dressing him up as a doctor and sneaking him in,” Deana laughed lightly, a smile touching over the corners of her lips, “Although he gave me quite an earful while he was getting ready telling me all about you.”

“He did, did he?” Grady questioned curiously.

She nodded, “That’s right he shared your secrets with me and now I know you better than you know yourself Grady Denton.”

“Really and just what did my little brother say to you that has you looking at me like that?” Grady wiggled his brow curiously.

“Wouldn’t you like to know,” she teased with a playful wink before rising to her feet again, “Oh would you look at that, my break is up.”

“Wait a second,” Grady stood up quickly, “You can’t just offer up a lead in like that and then just vanish without elaborating.”

“Just watch me,” she winked at him again before going off to return to work leaving Grady far more intrigued by her than he was sure he should be.


“You know I’ve been thinking about this situation,” Chris announced sliding onto the couch beside Angela after they’d finished up cleaning his kitchen with one another.”

“What situation?” she questioned casually lifting her head to face him.

“The one you’re having with Cameron,” Chris explained matter of fact sliding his arm around her shoulders, “I mean from where I stand Cameron is the last person in the planet that should be casting judgment on you for being pregnant when I think his list of mistakes is a bit longer than yours. I mean in between being in jail for kidnapping and having married a woman and divorced her faster than lightening, well…”

“What did you just say?” she questioned perking up as she turned to him.

“I said he’s got no right to judge you Angel. You’re a saint in comparison,” Chris shrugged his shoulders.

“No not that part. The part about jail and being married,” she waved her hand at him again, “Want to fill me in on all the details?”

“You mean you didn’t know,” Chris’s jaw practically dropped, “Oh Angel, I don’t think I should be the one to be telling you this then considering that…”

“That my brother seems to have a whole hell of a lot more going on than I ever thought possible. You said he was in jail for kidnapping--kidnapping who?”

“Jade Alexander. It was a big story out here, but of course as usual it was skewed in another direction altogether. It turns out Susan Hastings--you know Cameron’s lawyer out in New York was the one who kidnapped the girl and ultimately murdered her…” Chris continued on with a heavy sigh, “It was a poignant tale, but Cameron was cleared of all charges. I mean sure I know your brother is a lot of things, but…”

“Jade Alexander,” Angela repeated with wide eyes, “As in the same Jade Alexander that’s Kevin’s cousin?”

“I didn’t realize he was related to the Alexanders, but there is Jade and…” Chris started to recount the details from the paper.

“Seth,” she half questioned hoping it was a mistake.

“That’s right,” he nodded in response, “I do believe it’s Seth.”

“Kevin’s cousin is dead,” Angela’s jaw dropped horrified, “That’s what he was doing out here and he never told me.”

“Uh oh, why do I get the feeling that more than Cameron is going to want my head for this,” Chris practically gulped, “I had no idea about you not knowing and about the fact that Jade was related to Kevin and…”

“And neither one of them thought to tell me about any of this,” Angela thought aloud, “With Cameron being in jail, that must’ve been why he wanted to keep me away and with Kevin…that just seems so out of character for him to keep something this big from me. I would’ve thought that he’d tell me--that he’d share it with me that his cousin died.”

“Maybe it was a difficult situation for him,” Chris suggested after a moment’s contemplation.

“For most people yes, but not for Kevin. He tells me everything,” she confessed after a long moment of introspection, “At least he used to.”

“Well as they say times change,” Chris shrugged his shoulders after a long moment.

“Not that much for both my brother and Kevin to be lying to me,” Angela felt a million and one thoughts in her head. She turned her attention to Chris again, “You mentioned Cameron was cleared of all charges.”

“That’s right. He didn’t have anything to do with it, but he was interested in Kevin’s cousin. They had a strange something happening between them apparently,” Chris shrugged his shoulders, “I wish I knew more to tell, but right now, well I’m not really in the loop in this little town. I can look around and…”

“And what about Cam’s wife? You mentioned he got married? Who is she? What was she like?” Angela felt a million and one questions racing through her mind.

“She’s actually something there,” Chris couldn’t help but laugh, “She’s quite the character when it gets down to it.”

“Then you know her, yes?” she asked needing to know more about the world that had been kept from her.

“I’ve actually been spending time with her lately,” Chris nodded further, “She and Kipp have a child together and…”

“Kipp,” Angela’s jaw practically dropped, “You mean he’s around here too?”

“Pretty much,” Chris nodded, “He was shot a while back and…”

“And I knew about that. I was taking care of him on the island. He was in a coma and I wasn’t sure what was going to happen. Then one day he checked himself out and…” Angela brought her fingers up through her hair, “What is this world coming to? Why hasn’t anyone thought to clue me in on any of this?”

“Maybe they were trying to spare you some grief,” Chris suggested seeing the first flash of anger burning beneath the surface in her dark eyes.

“Or maybe they’ve resorted to treating me like a child again--like they think I’m not adult enough to take care of myself even after all of this time,” she huffed folding her arms in front of her chest as she hoped her brother did call back soon because she had more than plenty to say to him. And with Kevin, well for him to have lost his cousin and just leave her in the dark over it, that in itself had her beyond puzzled. He’d been a bit distant lately, but never to this extreme. Granted she’d kept things from him as well, but her being engaged to Nick or having slept with Brant was hardly on the same level as Kevin losing a cousin--a cousin that Cameron was somehow linked to now. Nothing made sense.

“You look like you’re a bit overwhelmed,” Chris spoke up watching her closely, “I didn’t mean to upset you Angel.”

“I’m not upset Chris. I’m angry,” she revealed with a small scowl, “Angry at them for keeping me in the dark and angry at myself for thinking that I could just coast through life not picking up on the clues around me. I’ll admit I was wrong to not tell anyone about being pregnant, but with Kevin and Cameron--for the two of them to keep me so isolated from life around me--from what was happening with them, well it makes me feel like they think I’m insignificant.”

“Maybe they were just trying to keep you out of it. Maybe they were…” Chris started once more.

“They lied plain and simple even if it’s a lie by omission. They never intended for me to know what’s been going on, but that changes--tonight,” Angela vowed curling her fingers at her side as she realized a talk with her best friend and her brother was long past overdue!


“So where is this Chase guy?” Kevin walked into the restaurant they were supposed to meet Chase at for breakfast. He looked around the restaurant before seeing the blonde haired guy from the other night coming from the corner of the room. “I should have known sissy boy was in the corner.”

“Kevin,” Ria jabbed Kevin in the ribs with her elbow as he let out a small yelp seeing Trisha walk over towards Chase who led the three of them over towards the table. “Just be nice.”

“That’s easy for you to say,” Kevin scowled over in Chase’s direction, itching at his abdomen once more, letting out a tiny breath. Was this stupid rash ever going to go away?

“I think you remember my sister Ria and her boyfriend Kevin,” Trisha looked back at Kevin and Ria as Ria reached her hand out towards Chase’s and shook it gently before sitting down at the table.

“It’s nice to see you again Kevin,” Chase reached his hand out for Kevin’s, watching the way that Kevin’s eyes just seemed to look down at his hand.

“It’s nice to see you too Chase,” Kevin grabbed onto Chase’s hand tightly, shaking it slowly before feeling Chase try to pull back from the hand shake. Kevin’s grip wouldn’t let Chase move as Kevin smiled widely. “This is a beautiful day we’re having, isn’t it?”

“Very,” Chase nodded looking down towards his hand, feeling Kevin let go of it. “Thank you for coming here today Kevin.”

“You think I would want to miss something like this?” Kevin smiled taking a seat next to Ria, wrapping his arm around her shoulder as Chase took a seat next to Trisha. “So how are you doing today Chase? Bright and happy?”

“It’s been a good day thus far,” Chase answered in a tight breath seeing the way that Kevin’s dark eyes glared out at him. Quickly, Chase tried to change the subject to get the heat off of himself. “So, what is everyone going to get for breakfast?”

“I’m not sure,” Ria answered first, breaking the silence between all four of them. “What about you Chase, what are you getting?”

“I’m not sure, but I was leaning towards the pancakes,” Chase replied with a small shrug as Trisha let out a small smirk, looking up at Kevin. “What about you Trish?”

“I don’t know yet, but hey,” Trisha wrapped her arm around Chase’s shoulders, looking up at Kevin with her big, dark eyes. “You and Kevin had something in common already. You both like pancakes--isn’t that right Kevin?”

“Why yes Trisha, I do love pancakes,” Kevin answered with a small bit of sarcasm behind his voice. He felt Ria poke him in ribs gently as he shifted in his seat uncomfortably. “So, Chase--what do you do for a living?”

“I’m a…radio DJ,” Chase answered after waiting a minute to answered Kevin’s question. Chase looked down towards the menu uneasily before letting out a small gulp. “Why do you ask?”

“No reason,” Kevin shook his head slowly a small smirk appearing over his lips as he looked Chase over. “Say, Chase--you know what someone always told me when I was younger? Someone told me that you couldn’t trust a man behind his sunglasses, especially when they are in a building.”

“Is that so?” Chase looked up at Kevin, pulling his sunglasses off and sliding them into his shirt pocket. “I heard that too back in the day. Wow, that’s another thing we have in common.”

“Imagine that,” Ria laughed uneasily, looking between Kevin at Chase at the breakfast table. There was obviously some tension between the two men and this wasn’t the way to start things with Trisha’s new boyfriend. “They also said not to have a full conversation on an empty stomach. So, let’s order.”


“I don’t understand what you are trying to say,” Brooke tried to lie, seeing the way Richard’s eyes glared into hers. “Richard…”

“Stop. How could you do this? You wanted to try and run Avery’s life so bad, that you tried to kill the one and only person that she ever truly loved in life,” Richard stood up straight, pacing back and forth in front of Brooke.

“Richard…” Brooke tried to think of something to say before Richard cut her off again once more.

“No, I don’t want to hear any of your excuses Brooke. You tried to kill a good man, a man that would give up everything for our daughter,” Richard began with a small shake of his head watching the way that Brooke seemed to stare up at him. “I would think that would have been bad enough--including the fact that you were working with Nicholas Ashford.”

“Wait just a second,” Brooke was going to try and explain herself, holding her hands up in the air as she spoke. “Russell was never good enough for our little girl, Brant on the other…”

“It’s her life, not yours,” Richard yelled stepping in closer to Brooke, resting his hands on both sides of her wheel chair. “She has loved Russ her whole life and all you have done is try and ruin her relationship with the love of her life. How dare you try and do all those things to her.”

“Richard, I can explain why I did all of that,” Brooke begged, hoping to find a way that would make Richard less angry with her. “I’m not really that bad of a person.”

“Not a bad person?” Richard repeated with a small laugh, shaking his head as he spoke. “You must be crazy Brooke because I know everything. You can’t lie to me anymore.”

“What do you mean you know everything,” Brooke looked up at Richard with worried eyes, seeing him take a step back towards the window. “What are you talking about?”

“You tried to kill Russ and Avery’s baby,” he snapped looking down at Brooke with a glare. “You tried to take the last piece of Russell away from Avery--tried to take the best thing away from her again. You tried to kill Erin. What kind of a mother are you? Scratch that--you don’t have the right to call yourself a mother. You’re a worthless excuse of a human being.”

“Richard,” Brooke gasped seeing Richard walk for the door as she turned her wheel chair around to face him. “Where are you going?”

“I am going to end things right here and right now Brooke,” Richard declared in a tight voice, clenching his fists at his sides. “I’m tired of having to put up with all of this and especially you. Brooke, I want a divorce.”


...to be continued...