Episode 283

“Hey handsome,” Kyle held Charles up to get a better look at him. Unable to repress the goofy grin that spilled over his features as he heard Charles giggle, Kyle leaned forward to blow on Charles’s stomach once again sending him into an uproarious bout of laughter.

“Kyle stop,” Heather swatted at him lightly moving in to pat him on the shoulder gently, “You’re going to give him hiccups.”

“I am not,” Kyle repeated the movement loving the sounds of Charles with his laughter. He glanced over at Sarah and smiled, “What do you think Sarah? Does he want me to stop?”

“It doesn’t sound like it,” Sarah smiled at Kyle before her eyes cast a dark glance over at Diego. Immediately uncomfortable she cleared her throat uneasily, “I think I’m going to get a drink.”

Diego watched Sarah leave keeping his silence for another moment longer before he cleared his throat as well, “I think I could go for one too.”

“That sounds good,” Heather nodded hearing Charles let out another squeal. She turned her attention to Kyle, “Can you grab me a bottled water from in there Diego?”

“Of course,” Diego nodded slipping into the kitchen with little to no questions from the rest of the group.

“Would you look at him? He’s loving this,” Kyle grinned blowing on Charles’s stomach again only to feel the small boy kick and howl with delight.

“That’s because he knows he’s in good hands with his Uncle Kyle,” Heather replied with a smile of her own dropping down onto the couch beside Kyle.

“Hell, who wouldn’t want to be in those good hands,” Kellen murmured with an appreciative grin. He felt Kipp poke him in the ribs and he stood up straighter, “I’m just saying…”

“Yeah, well how about you help me by saying something else when I have you pulling the bags out of the car that we brought home?” Kipp suggested motioning to the front door, “Sound like a plan?”

“Any excuse to get alone with you,” Kellen smiled greedily before waving at Heather and Kyle, “Don’t do anything I wouldn’t do…”

“Trust me Kellen, they don’t make anything out there that you wouldn’t do,” Heather mocked with a tiny chuckle as Kellen shrugged.

“Good point,” Kellen acknowledged before following Kipp out into the front yard.

“They seem to be getting along rather…um, well,” Kyle searched for the right words as he turned his attention away from Charles for a brief moment.

“Very well,” Heather nodded eagerly, “which is good for both of them. Kellen brings out a cheery side in Kipp and they seem to enjoy one another’s company.”

“And you don’t have a problem with that?” Kyle arched a curious brow.

“Why would I?” Heather shrugged once again, “I mean it’s not up to me what Kipp does with his life. He’s a grown boy and if he wants to play with other boys…”

“Okay, let’s just stop this one before it starts,” Kyle pleaded with her redirecting his attention to Charles as Charles reached out for Kyle’s nose trying to pull on it. Charles clapped his hands together as if daring Kyle to tease him again. Kyle laughed before playing with him once again.

“So what about you,” Heather asked sliding her arm around the back of the couch, “What’s going on with you?”

“You mean other than my falling completely head over heels in love with your little one,” Kyle questioned smiling over at her, “He’s really remarkable Heather.”

“I know he is,” Heather nodded proudly, “and each day he gets more handsome.”

“That he does,” Kyle agreed feeling Charles reach for his finger squeezing it in his palm, “and he’s so very strong. He’s going to grow up to be a tough little man.”

“That’s okay,” Heather decided pondering the thought, “You have to be tough in this world to get somewhere these days. It‘ll be good for him to start young and with him having so many people around him who love and support him…”

“You mean like Diego?” Kyle questioned curiously wiggling his brow at her. “I noticed that it looked like he’d been here for a while when Sarah and I got here, so does this mean you’re making progress with one another? Like maybe you’re going to stop chasing idiots and you’re going to settle down with a nice guy for a change? I mean not that Kipp is that bad seeing as he seems like an okay guy, but still…”

“Well, obviously I’m not getting together with Kipp because if I tried I think Kellen would claw my eyes out,” Heather noted with a tiny giggle.

“Yeah I kind of noticed that about him. He’s kind of the jealous type isn’t he?” Kyle questioned before shaking his head, “Though I didn’t peg Kipp for the type when I first met him…”

“I did,” Heather revealed in a small voice, “I mean don’t get me wrong. I know he had the hots for me, but there were signs there that he might consider swinging that way.”

“Heather, now that’s no way to talk about the father of your son,” Kyle tossed out at her in a hushed voice, “I mean really…”

“Oh come on. Anyone with eyes knows he and Kellen have something going and I’m totally cool with that. I mean sure it might’ve creeped me out a while ago, but now, well I’ve moved on,” she grinned proudly thinking about the night she’d spent with Charles and Diego. “Better things are around the corner for me.”

“I hope it works this time. Diego’s a good man and I think he’d be great for you and Charles,” Kyle decided knowing how much Diego had done for him and Sarah in the past, “He cares about you a lot Heather. When you were in the hospital, he was at your side night and day.”

“I know,” she nodded, “and despite the fact that I haven’t been exactly pleasant to him for the duration of our relationship, I see now that there really is something great about him. I mean it’s the first time since I returned from Hollywood that I’ve fallen for a man not for his money or his prestige, but rather because he makes me feel like I’m special--like I’m someone who deserves love in her life.”

“You always have deserved love Heather,” Kyle reminded her with a thoughtful expression, “It’s when you stopped loving yourself that the problem came in because the rest of the world always thought you were wonderful.”

“Stop,” Heather waved her hand at him dismissively, “because I know you’re only kissing up to me because you want me to let you see my son.”

“Well of course,” Kyle laughed lightly feeling Charles pinch at his nose, “He’s my little buddy and I adore him, but I think you’re pretty special too Heather.”

She smiled at the comment before leaning in to kiss his cheek quickly. She could tell by his reaction that she’d caught him off guard.

“I happen to think that you’re pretty special too Houston,” Heather replied brightly, “and who knows? Maybe soon you and Sarah will be able to have a little cousin for Charles to play with.”

“I’d love that,” Kyle revealed with a full smile bouncing Charles in his lap, “I’d love that more than anything, well almost more than anything.”

“Sarah’s a lucky girl to have you Kyle. You’re going to make a great father one day,” Heather added thinking about the way Kyle was with her son.

“I sure hope so, though I’m the lucky one. After Erin was born it got me thinking about things and I realize that I feel so blessed to be alive. It‘s given me a whole new perspective on things. I mean even now when I think about the things that have happened, it all really changes a person,” Kyle admitted glancing over at her with a thoughtful expression, “That sounds stupid, doesn’t it?”

“Of course not,” Heather shook her head stretching her arm out across the back of the couch to place her arm behind his shoulders. She let out a small sigh, “Life altering experiences can change a person.”

“Yeah I realized that this year more than I imagined I would. I mean when I think about it with Sarah, well I always thought that after waiting so long for us to be together, well, I just thought that it would all fall into place. I always thought that our being together after everything would make life feel so worthwhile.”

Heather watched him trail off seeing a lost expression behind his eyes, “Why do I sense a but coming on here?”

“Let’s just say that when my parents died I always kind of felt like I was on my own--kind of isolated from the world, but then it seemed like things got better only to fall apart,” Kyle freely admitted tipping his head to the side to look at her, “This year I learned a lot about myself and about the real heart of a person’s character in those critical moments that matter.”

“People tend to show their true colors when tragedy strikes,” Heather noted thinking about all that had happened to her over the last year, “They say that’s the true definition of character.”

“I don’t doubt that for a second,” Kyle focused on Charles once again reaching out to tickle him briefly, “That’s why I think children offer hope and give people a new reason to believe again. I mean I’m sure you know how that feels with Charles. I can’t think of anything more incredible than this little guy. Or even Erin for that matter. You have no idea how great it was when I helped bring her into this world. I can’t explain it, but well she’s given me hope for a future and thoughts about a family. Holding her was an incredible experience after I helped her enter the world.”

“She was a lucky girl to have you be the first man to hold her in your arms,” Heather noted with a small appreciative glance.

“I was the lucky one because she really got me thinking about my life and everything in it. She made me want to believe that there are second chances out in this world,” Kyle confessed openly to Heather a look of sheer happiness washing over him, “and I wouldn’t trade it for anything. As it stands I’m finally seeing things clearer than I’ve ever been in my life and I owe that all to those moments at the Denton cabin when I was on the threshold of life and death. It was in those moments where I saw terror and pure happiness all rolled into one if you will. I realized that I still have those dreams of having a family and being a father and finding that love in my life that I‘ve always longed for. When that happens to me, well I know I’m going to savor every single second of it.”

“You say that as if you haven’t found it yet,” Heather mouthed giving him a long look, her green eyes focused more completely on him, “Is that what you’re trying to say Kyle? That you don’t think you’ve found it with Sarah?”

“Do you think you’ve found that with Diego?” Kyle turned the conversation around on her. “Does he seem like the man that you want to spend the rest of your life with? The one that makes you want to share your hopes and dreams with him?”

“Oh please,” she waved her hand dismissively, “You know that I wouldn’t share my hopes and dreams with any man. I’m not that stupid.”

“You shared them with me once,” he reminded her with a small smirk, “I didn’t think you were stupid then and I don’t think you’re stupid now.”

“That was before I knew what life was all about--before those defining moments if you will,” Heather sighed sinking back into the sofa, “I had a chance to have everything I wanted and I had this hope that when I left my dream would chase me and it never happened. What I was waiting for never became a reality so I stopped dreaming a long time ago. There just wasn’t any point any more.”

“Do you hear that Charles?” Kyle wrinkled his nose and pulled Charles in closer to him, “Your mother is already so jaded, yet far too young to be this cynical.”

“Like you aren’t,” Heather shook her head at him, “You’re just feeling emotional because you almost died.”

“No, I’m just being honest because I’m with you,” his dark gaze shifted upon her once again, “And if you stop lying to yourself, you know deep down you still have dreams.”

“No, not really,” she argued watching Kyle place his hands over Charles’s tiny ears.

“Don’t listen to her,” Kyle mouthed in a small whisper, “It’s never good for your mother to lie especially in front of you, but she thinks she’s good at it. She’s wrong though.”

“And you’re being a pain in the…” Heather started feeling Kyle reach out to press his hand over her mouth to silence her.

“Watch what you say,” he warned giving her a stern look, “It could influence what Charles says down the road. You don’t want to make him be pessimistic this early on.”

“I’m trying to be a realist,” Heather muttered from underneath his palm over her lips. “Kyle, let me go. You don’t need to stifle my words…”

“Sure I do,” Kyle winked at her removing his hand from her lips, “as long as you don’t behave.”

“You used to stifle me in other ways,” Heather winked back at him feeling a blush rise over her face at what slipped past her lips.

“Yes, well Charles is in the room and he’s not old enough for that yet,” Kyle teased back with a flirty grin, “but maybe in a couple of months we can discuss that further.”

“Don’t tease,” she wrinkled her nose at him and swatted his shoulder, “That’s so not fair.”

“Who said anything about teasing?” Kyle replied with a knowing look amused by the color in her face. “I was being totally serious.”

“Then be warned, the next time you bring it up, I’ll be totally serious about expecting it from you,” Heather nudged him once again before falling back onto the sofa with a laugh. She shook her head at him, “You’re crazy. I hope you realize that.”

“And you’re still a hopeless dreamer who is waiting for the right man to come into her life and turn her world around,” Kyle noted with a soft grin thinking about the Heather he knew growing up.

“Yeah well when that day happens and if you find the guy, I’d appreciate it if you pointed him in the right direction,” Heather laughed lightly, “because right now I’m just looking for a good time.”

“Then dump Diego and run away with me to another country,” Kyle wiggled his brow at her suggestively, “Are you tempted?”

“If you were serious, I’d be more than tempted, but then we’d have Sarah chasing after us and we both know you don’t want that,” Heather noted with a frown thinking about her sister and her attitudes.

“Trust me it would be fun to watch her missing us at each country and never finding us,” Kyle laughed lightly thinking about his sudden distain for Sarah. “It might be worth it to see her try to chase us down…or to see us together.”

“Thanks, but I’m not ready to sign my own death warrant,” Heather looked to her son and laughed, “As you can see your Uncle Kyle is carrying around with him a death wish not to mention he has this serious flirting problem.”

“Hey what can I say? Your mommy brings out the best in me.” Kyle noted with a small laugh wondering if things would really have a way of working themselves out for him and Sarah. Turning to watch Heather once again he couldn’t help but wonder if maybe he should stop joking and seriously find himself out of Coral Valley for a while to get his thoughts straight on just where his future was headed. Maybe all of the answers he was searching for were right in front of him, but he was too clouded up inside to see them.


“Are you okay Sarah?” Diego questioned, walking into the kitchen behind Sarah seeing her rush over towards the cabinet to get a glass for some water. “Sarah…”

“I’m okay,” Sarah waved Diego off as she went over to the sink and turned the water on, “I am just a little thirsty. There really isn’t anything wrong.”

“I don’t think that’s the case Sarah,” Diego walked in closer to Sarah, reaching out to place his hand over her shoulder as she turned off the water. “I wish you would just talk to me we never used to have problems with talking to each other. You always knew that I would be there for you.”

“Diego, I’m fine,” Sarah assured him putting her glass of water down on the counter before turning to face Diego. A small frown appeared over her features as she looked down to Diego’s hand. “We were closer before…”

“We’re closer now Sarah, I just wish you would open up to me more,” his dark eyes tried to read hers, but there was nothing showing him how she was feeling. “Did something happen with you and Kyle?”

“No,” Sarah shook her head slowly, hearing Kyle and Heather laughing in the background as a smile appeared over her lips. “At least they are having fun these days. I mean, they deserve to have fun after all I have worked for.”

“Okay, so obviously something is wrong,” Diego heard Kyle talking about Charles in the background before letting out another small laugh. “They are just with Charles playing. Is everything working out with you and Kyle?”

“I’m trying to patch things up with him, yes,” she nodded feeling him slide his hand in against her shoulder once more. She looked back towards the kitchen door before looking back at Diego. “We kind of patched things up the other night, but what about you and Heather? You don’t have to tell me if you don’t want to.”

“Nothing happened Sarah if that’s what you were thinking,” Diego informed her with a deep sigh, hearing Heather’s voice in the background. “I couldn’t do that to myself when I am already hooked.”

“Did you really do something with Heather because it wouldn’t bother me Diego--I mean we are just friends,” Sarah pointed out watching Diego’s dark glance seem to turn into a saddened expression. “Right?”

“Right,” Diego cleared his throat uneasily, pulling his hand away from her and folding his arms out in front of his chest. “I think there is something else I should tell you too Sarah.”

“Go for it,” Sarah shrugged her shoulders hearing a sudden silence come from the room Heather and Kyle were in. Interested she took a step in towards the door before hearing Diego behind her.

“Sarah, I broke up with Cori too you know,” Diego blurted out seeing Sarah look back at him with a shocked expression. “I did it the other night after the cafeteria.”

“Diego,” Sarah began speechless, turning around to face him. She took a few steps in closer towards Diego, seeing his dark eyes looking into hers. What kind of reasons would he break up with Cori for? There was only one valid reason that was running through her mind--in fact, it was probably the only reason he would do it. “Was it because of me? Did you break up with her because of what we had together?”

“No, I broke up with her because I thought it was the right thing to do,” Diego quickly answered leaning in against the counter as he saw her step in closer towards him. “I’ve wanted to do more things that were right, but I don’t think they would work with me in return.”

“Diego, if you really loved Cori you shouldn’t have broken up with her for what happened with us,” Sarah reached out to touch the side of his face gently, running her fingers against his rough skin.

“Who said I loved Cori?” Diego muttered reaching out and wrapping his arm around her waist to pull her in closer to his body. “The one I…”

“Just wait a second baby Charles, I’ll have your bottle ready before you can say the words,” Kellen entered the kitchen, his blue eyes widening as he saw Sarah and Diego, “what in the world are you two doing?”


“You did good mom,” Russell whispered kissing Avery’s cheek gently. He kept her wrapped in his arms as Erin lay sleeping in Avery’s embrace. After a hearty meal, she’d finally succumbed to the lazy exhaustion that all that hard work had put upon her. Now lost in her dreams, Russ couldn’t help but admire his daughter. “She looks like she’s on top of the world right now.”

“I’m the one who feels that way,” Avery revealed in a tiny voice tilting her head back just enough to see Russ gazing lovingly at their daughter, “because I’m the one who has all of her dreams coming true after a time when she thought they were all over with.”

“Are you kidding me,” Russ curled his finger underneath her chin, “The way I see it our dreams are only beginning Avery. We’re together again and nothing can stop us.”

“You have no idea how hard it was for me being without you,” Avery sighed sinking further into his warm embrace as he kept her and Erin in his strong arms, “Night after night I would dream about you--wishing that you’d return to me--that somehow I’d be able to share our daughter’s life with you…”

“I’m here now,” he promised squeezing her ever so slightly, “and nothing’s going to keep you from having all of those dreams come true.”

“Russ, there is just so much that I know we need to talk about--so much that has happened and…” Avery began nervously feeling her stomach tied in knots.

“And nothing is more important than this,” Russ leaned forward stealing a small kiss from her lips just in time to hear Erin move in her arms. He looked down to see his daughter’s big eyes fixed upon him. She let out an oversized yawn and he couldn’t help but laugh, “Are we boring you already little lady?”

“Nah, she’s just interested in staying up to hear what her daddy has to say,” Avery decided seeing Erin reach out for Russell’s hand pulling it towards her. She exchanged glances with Russ as she saw Erin nibbling on his finger, “You don’t think she’s hungry again, do you?”

“Nah,” Russ reached out for her carefully lifting her into his own arms, “She just wants her daddy that’s all.”

Avery watched Russ place Erin carefully on the center of his chest. He snuggled in closer to Avery wrapping one arm around her to draw her in to him as well. Together the three of them lay cozily propped up on the pillows on Avery’s hospital bed just looking at one another.

Avery reached out to touch Erin’s tiny face gently, “She already has your nose Russ.”

“Nah, she’s got your nose,” Russ shook his head, a grin spilling over his lips, “It’s all cute and perky…”

“My nose is not perky,” Avery objected giving him a small look.

“Of course it is,” he replied kissing the tip of her nose gently, “and I love it. Just like I love all of you.”

“I love you too,” she paused searching his green eyes remembering all the nights when she’d believed that she’d never, ever see them again. Even now as he held her it all felt too good to be true--too much like heaven for it to be real. She snuggled into him further, “Please tell me that this isn’t a dream…”

“It’s not a dream,” he promised whispering warmly in her ear, “at least it’s not the kind of dream you’re thinking about. It’s a dream come true.”

“You have no idea what it felt like not being able to do this--not being able to hold you--to touch you,” her fingers tapered off over his chest, “Russ, I was so lost without you.”

“You’ll never have to be lost again,” he promised kissing her head gently as he saw the exhaustion burning behind her dark eyes, “Avery, I’m not going to let anything else keep us apart.”

“I know,” she nodded her eyelids growing heavy, “Russ it’s just that…”

“Shh,” he instructed in a soothing tone, running his fingers over her spine in a small, tentative motion. He knew that she was tired. She was fighting it, but he was well aware of the fact that she was beyond any type of anything other than trying to rest. He felt her body fall to great ease in his arms and before he knew it he heard the soft sighs of her breathing changing alerting him that she’d fallen asleep.

“It looks like it’s just you and me princess,” Russ whispered to Erin listening to the small sounds she made. Her eyes fixed on Avery watching her with obvious interest. “Mommy’s had a long, hard week, but don’t worry your daddy is here now. I’m going to take care of you. I promised mommy that I’d always be there for the both you being the kind of father you could be proud of. I’m going to give you the world Erin and make everything right for us. Just you wait and see. We’re going to be so happy now that we’re together again.”

Erin let out another yawn before snuggling into Russell’s chest latching onto him as her head settled in over the center of his chest and she fell asleep listening to the sounds of his heart beating beneath her. Smiling at Russ held his girls he realized that life couldn’t be anymore perfect than it was right here--right now. It was his own private piece of heaven and he would do anything in his power to hold onto it forever.


Grady moved through the hallway thinking about his night at the hospital. While Russ had said that Grady could go home and rest if he wanted to, Grady was well aware of the fact that he needed to stay close by. If Ashford gave Russ half of the trouble that he’d given Grady, then Grady was certain Russ would need him there one hundred percent. Turning down the hallway Grady spotted Jenna and Hart up ahead.

“Well if it isn’t the troublemaker’s brother,” Hart assaulted Grady with his words, “and here I thought you and your brother would be off gloating instead of sticking around the hospital. Then again I suppose you want to stay close to see the results of your handiwork.”

“Back off Steiner,” Grady warned pushing past Hart in an attempt to ignore him.

“No I’m not going to back off--not until you tell me what your brother did to Brant last night. I know he did something and now whatever is happening to him is your brother’s fault,” Hart continued his eyes narrowing at him. “I want to know what he did…”

“Whatever is happening to Brant he brought it on himself,” Grady remarked sharply before moving past Hart.

“I’m not finished with you yet,” Hart grabbed Grady’s arm refusing to let him leave, “Not until you tell me what Russ did!”

“Hart stop!” Jenna’s jaw dropped as she rounded the hospital corner watching the exchange between Hart and Grady. “What are you doing?”

“Trying to get this jerk to be honest with me about what he and his brother have done to Brant. I know that they had to do something because this wouldn’t have happened if they would’ve just left him alone,” Hart continued to lash out at Grady, “He and Avery are happy together, but you two can’t accept that, can you?”

“You don’t know what you’re talking about and you’d be wise to just keep your mouth shut,” Grady warned sourly, “Avery belongs with my brother and even Jenna can tell you that. They have a daughter together and…”

“And nothing. You’ve been trying to cause problems for Brant and Avery for months and now this,” Hart shook his head at him, “You both make me sick.”

“Yeah, well guess what pretty boy,” Grady shoved Hart away from him, “You’re not my idea of a good time either with all the unethical legal tactics you’ve pulled lately. I could have you disbarred for all that you’ve done.”

“I’d like to see you try,” Hart got up in Grady’s face once more, “because I’ll bury you Denton.”

“I dare you to try,” Grady matched him nose to nose.

“Stop it both of you,” Jenna pleaded with them, “Just stop it!”

“I’m not letting go of this until he tells me what they did to Brant,” Hart’s voice shouted as he grew further agitated with Grady.

“I didn’t do a damn thing, but maybe it’s karma coming back to bite Brant in the butt for the awful things he’s done to my brother. After the way he tried to sabotage Russ and Avery by trying to lie about Erin…” Grady asserted with a snarl.

“He was just trying to protect his family. Avery is his wife!” Hart snapped shoving Grady in the chest.

“Avery doesn’t love him,” Grady shouted in return, “She never did!”

“That’s enough,” a new voice broke through the commotion, “stop it both of you!”

Jenna spun around to see Ken moving in between the two men. Both Grady and Hart bucked back in protest.

“I’m just trying to get answers out of him,” Hart tried to explain to him.

“What you’re doing is making a mess of things,” Ken warned sharply, “and you, well I don’t know what you’re doing here Grady, but it would be best if you left.”

“I was on my way out when Hart started this,” Grady explained smugly, “but I don’t expect you to understand that one Ken since you birds of a feather flock together. Just tell your brother when you see him to back off. No one wants his kind of drama. Tell him to stay away from Avery. She doesn’t want to be with him and if he’s smart, he’ll just leave her the hell alone once and for all!”


“A divorce,” Brooke repeated with a haughty laugh, “Richard you can’t be seriously considering believing that for a second there is any validity in what you are saying to me. Wherever those ridiculous rumors started they are just that. There is no proof that any of that has happened and…”

“Tell me that our daughter didn’t try to defend herself against you when you tried to hurt her and Erin,” Richard demanded with an abrasive tone taking a small step towards her, “Or better yet, why don’t we go back to when this all started? Back to her wedding day perhaps?”

“Look Richard I…” Brooke stopped herself, “Erin? Whose Erin?”

“That’s Avery daughter. The daughter that you tried to steal from her and Russ just like you did the day she was supposed to marry him all those years ago,” Richard threw his hands in the air, his hands shaking as his head and heart were wild with emotion, “When I think about that day--about how our daughter’s world was torn apart when she lost her child.”

“I had nothing to do with that,” Brooke insisted firmly, not willing back down on her position. She tried to reach out to him, but found herself motionless lost in the result of her last attempt on Avery’s child’s life.

“Liar!” Richard shouted in a raw, vibrating tone, “I know all about what you did to Avery back then and what you’re still trying to do to her now.”

“This is insane,” Brooke countered with a small huff, “If you think for even one second that I could possibly…”

“You more than possibly. You did Brooke,” he accused harshly, “You not only kept our daughter from the man that loves her, but you murdered our grandchild. Our own flesh and blood Brooke. You stole our grandchild’s life from him or her all because of your own need to look out for yourself. You let your greed guide our daughter into the arms of a monster and…”

“I didn’t do that Richard. I never once tried to hurt Avery! I love her and,” Brooke began again reaching out to him, “You have to believe that.”

“What I believe is that you’ve been in this for yourself from day one. It wasn’t good enough for you to control my life, but you had to find a way to do it to our children--to hurt both of them by your actions,” Richard shunned away from her touch, “You sicken me. When I think about how many years I spent with you--how many times I was ready to walk away, but I didn’t because of Avery and Guy, then to hear that you’re capable of this.”

“I didn’t…” she started again forcing tears at his anger.

“The hell you didn’t! I know damned well that you killed our grandchild--that you tried to kill Erin as well, but Avery stopped you. She put you in this position because she was trying to save her daughter from you! She was trying to protect herself and Erin because you couldn’t bear the thought of our daughter finding real happiness in her life. You were thinking about you, not her,” Richard shook his head adamantly, “You knew how much Russ loved her--how much he needed her and how she needed him, but it wasn’t good enough for you. It wasn’t good enough for her to just be happy with someone who loved her and wanted to give her the world…”

“He could never give her the world,” Brooke’s eyes narrowed up at him, “Russ was the worst thing that ever happened to Avery and if you weren’t man enough to prevent our daughter from making the biggest mistake of her life, then I knew one of us had to be. Russell Denton had absolutely nothing to offer to our daughter other than a lifetime of pain and misery. He was a man going nowhere and I wouldn’t dream of seeing our daughter throw her life away to be with someone like him.”

“So you killed our grandchild to make sure that didn’t happen, right?” Richard’s voice roared through the hospital room, “Right Brooke?”

“I did what I had to do to get the job done,” she snapped in response fury burning behind her dark eyes, “Avery wouldn’t listen to reason and I knew that she was capable of more. She had better things in front of her…”

“Like your bringing your drug peddler into her life? Or the fact that you pushed a serial murderer on her until you found a better future for yourself, right? That’s where the idea to fake your kidnapping came in…you were so afraid that people would see what you’ve done--that Bruce would spill the beans on your association with him, right? So you had to jump ahead of the game and find a way to make him unable to confess to what you’d done to our daughter.”

“I didn’t do anything to Avery that any mother wouldn’t have done. The last thing she needed in her life was to be married to Russell and carrying his children when there were better things out there. She deserved a life of happiness and security--a life that only someone like Brant could provide her with.”

“Don’t you mean someone like Nicholas could provide you with? I know all about your association to that man. I know how the two of you plotted to hurt Avery--to manipulate her into doing what you wanted, but guess what Brooke? It didn’t work. The joke is on you so to speak because Russ is back and he’s talking about what you did down to the last detail.”

“What?” Brooke’s eyes widened in surprise, “No that can’t be.”

“Can’t it?” he arched a curious brow, “You look so convinced like you knew all along what Russell’s fate would be. You appear as if you weren’t expecting him to ever resurface again.”

“He was in that accident. I know full well that…” Brooke began again.

“You were wrong. You were dead wrong about having him ripped from this world just like you were about murdering Avery’s child. You’re going to pay for what you’ve done Brooke and I’ll personally prosecute you myself if I have to just to make sure that you pay the full price of your actions,” Richard’s jaw clenched with anger, “As far as I’m concerned I never want to see you again. You repulse me in every way imaginable and I swear to you if you even come close to our daughter again, then so help me God I’ll kill you myself.”

“Richard please…if you’d only try to understand,” Brooke begged of him.

“I do understand Brooke and that’s what makes it all the more sickening. You ripped an innocent life from this world all because of what you were hoping for--for whatever sick and twisted game you’ve been playing, but I have news for you. I’m done. No more. The games are done!”

“You should be thanking me for what I’ve done. I’ve given our daughter a better life--a better place in this world and…” Brooke argued with him lost in her own anger.

“All you did was destroy something precious in this world time and time again,” Richard snarled down at her. “You could’ve had it all Brooke, but you destroyed everything.”

“That baby was nothing. It was only what Russ was using to hold our daughter down, but I freed her. I would have done it again if I could, but she was just too stubborn. She had no idea what marrying an Ashford could do for her. She didn’t realize that by freeing herself of that hold Russ had on her that she would truly have it all--she could have anything beyond her wildest dreams and if I could go back to that chapel again I wouldn’t stop with that baby. I would’ve made damn sure that Russell Denton would’ve gone down with it!”

“I don’t believe this,” a horrified voice gasped from the far corner of the room causing Brooke to look to see Guy standing before her with a shocked expression leaving her to wonder just how much he‘d heard.


Chris turned his car off as he pulled into the one of lots at the hospital. Angela went over to see Cameron, leaving him alone with nothing to do so what else could he do better with his time? The one thing that sounded best was to go and see what was going on with Brant Ashford and what was going to be their next move on what to do with him.

“This is going to be a great story when I get all the information I need,” Chris smiled looking in the mirror before a wide smile appeared over his lips. There was going to be something good he was going to get on Brant again. It was just a matter of time before he would finally end Ashford for good.

Chris got out of the car and walked towards the doors of the hospital before seeing something that caught his eye. A small smile appeared over his lips as he stopped and looked at the scene before him.

Cori was kneeled down on the ground as she messed around with one of the tires on a car. Ashford could wait while he tried to make himself look a little bit better after all the things he did around Cori and Diego. She needed some help with her flat tire and he was going to be the first man to step up to the plate and help her.

“Hey there sexy blonde,” Chris snuck up behind Cori, seeing her jump before looking back at him. “Didn’t mean to scare you beautiful, I just saw you over here in the corner--looking hotter than ever I might add in that little mini-skirt of yours.”

“What do you want Chris?” Cori questioned angrily, feeling her heart racing after having Chris sneak up on her like that. “I’m kind of busy and…”

“I noticed that you had a flat tire and I thought I could help you out a little bit,” Chris pointed out seeing Cori roll her eyes and shake her head slowly. “You don’t need help?”

“No, I don’t,” Cori snapped seeing Chris shrug his shoulders before walking away from her. “I think I can handle it just fine.”

“Sure, okay,” Chris nodded quickly acting like he was going to walk away, but snuck behind a car instead watching Cori curiously. There was something weird about the way she was acting around him, like she was up to something and when he watched her continue what she was doing he knew his accusations were right.

Cori let out an angered growl as she hit the side of the car roughly as Chris’s eyes spotted the switchblade that Cori had shoved in the front tire. It was obvious that she was aggravated of the fact that the tired wasn’t deflating fast enough for her.

“Hey Cori,” Chris stepped out from behind the other car seeing the way that Cori’s face filled with shock, knowing that Chris saw what she did. “Hold on a second, I might be able to help you out a bit. If you put the knife down, I am pretty sure I can help you out.”

“Really,” Cori folded the blade back up before seeing Chris kneel down in front of the tire and undoing the cap. She watched him do the same thing to another tire before standing back up.

“It will be just as effective and takes less effort,” Chris informed her, wiping his hands off on his pants. A small smile appeared over his lips as he watched her nod and take a step back. “So what is this all about? Who pissed you off?”

“Only the biggest jerk in the whole universe,” Cori answered with a small huff as she felt Chris come up from behind her and wrap his arm around her shoulders.

“The universe is pretty big, so I am assuming only one person could have gotten you this mad,” Chris automatically assumed before letting out a deep sigh. “I’m guessing his name is Diego.”

“You guessed right,” Cori nodded feeling him lead her away from the car. “Where are we going?”

“How about me and you go and get some coffee or something to chat about what happened,” he suggested with a small shrug, seeing her look up at him. “What do you think about that brown eyes?”

“Sounds good I guess,” Cori agreed to it before looking back at the car once more, “but only for a little while.”


“Where is he?” Cameron heard a voice call from his office where he’d been busy stewing over papers on the latest project he’d had going. He’d promised investors results and soon now that BBK was working frantically to one up him with this new miracle drug. However, when he’d pushed his sister for some kind of update on her research earlier, she’d seemed hesitant--almost worked up and now, well the more he’d heard shouting in the other room, the more he realized it sounded a lot like Angela.

“There you are,” Angela marched into the study with Franklin at her heels.

“Sir, I tried to get her to calm down so that I could alert you that she was here, but…” Franklin began apologetically seeing the fiery brunette in front of him.

“Franklin it’s Angel,” Cameron explained in a small warning tone catching the look of surprise Franklin offered him. Clearly Franklin had thought that Angela was Avery as well, but now he understood.

“Of course sir,” Franklin nodded before leaving the two of them alone to talk.

“You’ve got a lot of nerve,” Angela stepped forward shaking her finger at him, “How could you even think to keep me in the dark about…”

“Angel,” Cameron ignored her words rushing over to embrace her almost immediately, “I’ve missed you. How did you find this place?”

“A friend of mine told me where to look,” she replied sourly refusing to return the embrace, “I took it upon myself to come over whether you wanted me to or not.”

“Why wouldn’t I want you to come over?” Cameron pulled back ever so slightly to take a long look at her, “I would’ve sent you over a limo to pick you up had I known you were this close…”

“Would you really?” she questioned with a doubtful expression shaking her head at him. While she hadn’t seen her older brother in quite some time, now she found herself highly agitated with him, “See now I don’t believe that exactly.”

“And just why not?” he frowned back at her, “Don’t you know by now I’d do anything for you?”

“Except tell me the truth, right Cam?” she folded her arms in front of her chest taking a step back, “When were you going to tell me that you were in jail?”

“Angel, I…” he stammered a bit before waving his hand dismissively and trying to offer up a small smile, “It was nothing.”

“Nothing,” she repeated with a huff, “Cam I heard that you were in jail because they believed you kidnapped Kevin’s cousin. Why would you do that? Why would someone even begin to think that you could be capable of something like that?”

“Because this town is filled with idiots, which was part of the reason why I wanted to keep you away for so long,” Cameron confessed reaching out to touch her cheek gently, “I didn’t want my little sister exposed to any of this.”

“Don’t give me that crap. You didn’t tell me because like daddy you wanted to keep me in the dark about what you’re getting into,” she stomped her foot down and glared up at him, “So why don’t you just come out with it Cameron? Tell me what you’ve done and why you’ve targeted Kevin?”

“I didn’t target Kevin,” Cameron objected with a frown, “I had no idea that Jade was his cousin, nor did I have anything to do with what happened to her. She was an incredible, wonderful woman whom I’d enjoyed very much. When I heard what Susan had done to her, I was just as shocked and horrified as you are right now. If I’d known that she was Kevin’s cousin, then I would’ve found a way to keep her away from Susan--I would’ve tried to protect her further like I‘ve protected you…”

“From what Cam?” Angela couldn’t help but ask, “You keep telling me that you want to protect me, but then you shut me out of your life and then you expect me to be happy when the news travels about your not only ending up in jail, but having been married and that too you didn’t bother to share with me I might add.”

“That’s because it wasn’t important,” Cameron frowned at the memory of his brief marriage, “It wasn’t worth being involved in.”

“Cameron, you’re my brother. Don’t you think that maybe just maybe you should share these things with me if for no other reason than you’re all that I have left in this world?” she huffed in response increasingly agitated with his lack of remorse over what he’d done in keeping her in the dark, “Cameron, what is it that you’re into right now that you haven’t been able to be honest with me? Why have you kept me in the dark about so many things, yet now you’re willing to let me in?”

“I missed you,” Cameron insisted with a small smile, “I missed your face and having you around. Things happening around here only reminded me of you and of how I longed to see you again. I knew you were safe while you were away and now, well now that you’re here, we can leave town for a while. We’ll go anywhere that you want and we can catch up with one another…”

“No Cameron, we’re going to stay right here and we’re going to catch up right now,” she stated firmly, her dark eyes narrowing at him, “You’re going to tell me everything that you haven’t been telling me up until now and I’m not leaving from this spot until I’m satisfied with the fact that you’ve told me the truth.”


Avery looked up after hearing a knock at her hospital door. Seconds later Elliot popped his head in seeing Erin and Russ sleeping with one another beside Avery. She waved over at Elliot and motioned for him to come inside after she’d been keeping her eye on Russ for a while herself.

“They looks so peaceful,” Elliot noted with a proud smile, “She’s daddy’s little girl already, isn’t she?”

“I’m sure of it,” Avery nodded back at him before looking around the room behind him, “Where’s Cheryl?”

“She’s out in the hallway. She didn’t really want me to come in here and bother you three, but I couldn’t resist the opportunity to come in and see my granddaughter,” he pause an uneasiness following his silence. Avery picked up on it right away.

“Well tell Cheryl we don’t mind the interruption. Erin would love the opportunity to spend some time with her grandparents because she knows already who to go to for spoiling her,” Avery smiled up at him hoping to convey that her feelings hadn’t changed despite the latest things that had happened in the world around them.

“Alright,” Elliot replied with a wide smile before nodding, “I’ll tell her to come on in.”

“Okay,” Avery nodded glancing over at Russ and Erin once again. She saw the way that Erin seemed so content wrapped up in her father’s arms and in that moment Avery couldn’t help but find herself falling in love with Russ all over again. She felt the warmth of his body beside her, the ease at which things seemed to fall into place for them and as her eyes cast over the lines of his handsome face, she felt herself grateful to be sharing such a moment with him beside her.

Looking up once more she spotted Elliot talking a hesitant Cheryl into the room. Avery waved at them offering up a warmth through the room. Cheryl walked in behind Elliot in a small movement until the two had moved in closer to the bed.

“Hey grandma,” Avery smiled up at her before motioning to Russ, “What do you think? Is this the perfect time for a picture or what with these two?”

“I wish I had a camera,” Cheryl confessed bringing her hand up to her chest while taking a moment to appreciate the site before her.

“I have one on my phone, but I don’t know if it’ll work in here,” Elliot piped in reaching into his pocket, “I know you’re not really supposed to have these in here, but…”

“It’ll be our little secret,” Avery winked up at him watching him snap a photo of Russ and Erin.

“What secret?” Russell’s eyes lazily opened and he looked up to see his father standing in front of him. “Dad…”

“Hey son,” Elliot smiled down at him, “We were just taking our time to admire that pretty little girl of yours.”

“She is beautiful, isn’t she,” Russ tipped his head down to take a long look at his daughter. He felt her curl into him further and a warm, wonderful feeling swelled up inside of him, “She’s being lazy just like her daddy.”

“She has your nose,” Cheryl added as Avery threw out a knowing look to Russ and stuck her tongue out at him.

“Told you so,” Avery laughed lightly.

“She actually looks a lot like both of you, but with the way Russ is holding her right now, it reminds me of him when he was little,” Elliot confessed thinking about his son, “When he was first born he was a bit fussy, though he’ll swear he wasn’t. We tried to get him to calm down at times, but nothing worked for a while. The only thing that really did the trick was my holding him just like that. After that he seemed to be content every time.”

“He just wanted to feel close to his father. Elliot was the only one who could really put him at ease,” Cheryl added, her gaze traveling over to Russ. She felt a heat rise over her features remembering that the last time she’d seen him he was in a great deal of pain. Fearing he was still angry with her, she braced herself for his reaction.

“That’s because my father’s always been one of my best friends,” Russ finally blurted out with a small smile tipping his eyes up to Elliot, “Right dad?”

“That’s right son,” Elliot nodded tears glistening behind his eyes as Erin let out a tiny yawn. Moments later her eyes opened and she stared at the new arrivals in the room watching Elliot wave at her.

“Would you like to hold her?” Avery questioned noting the expression on Elliot’s face.

“Oh I don’t know if she’d be happy with that right now considering that…” Elliot stammered a bit.

“I’m sure if it worked for me, then it will work for her too dad,” Russell finished with extra emphasis on the last word, “I know Erin would love for her grandfather to hold her.”

“Well since you put it that way,” Elliot smiled down at him, “I’d love to.”

“Okay, then why don’t you come on over here,” Russ suggested motioning to his side of the bed, “and mom you can help him out here. If you two just pick her up like this then…”

“I’ve got her,” Cheryl explained reaching out to take Erin in her arms. “She’s so beautiful Russ.”

“Thanks, but while I’d love to take all the credit, it’s this beautiful woman right here who did all the work,” Russ curled his arm around Avery hugging her to him, “She’s the reason we’re all here today sharing this moment.”

“I’m not the only one,” Avery reminded him placing her hand over the center of his chest, “After all you rescued us at a time when we needed you the most.”

“And I’d do it again in a heartbeat,” Russ informed her leaning in to kiss her tenderly, “I love you.”

“I love you,” she replied her dark eyes turning to her in-laws as she found herself struck with a new sense of hope that somehow everything would find a way to work itself out for their family.


“Guy,” Brooke gulped surprised to find her son standing there. Suddenly fear swept over her followed by panic at the thought that he could‘ve heard her and Richard fighting, “son I can explain…”

“I think you just did,” Guy took a step forward shaking his head at her, “I came over here to see if it was true--if all of the rumors had any weight upon them and now…”

“Sweetheart, it’s not what you think,” Brooke curled her fingers out towards him seeing the raw hatred behind his eyes.

“No it’s worse. A hell of a lot worse,” Guy mouthed biting back on the numb feeling that coiled over him.

“Son, I really don’t think that you should be here right now,” Richard spoke up not wanting to see his son’s world destroyed after all Brooke had done.

“I’m every bit a part of this family as anyone else. You aren’t the only one she betrayed,” Guy’s eyes burned with obvious emotion, “How could you do that to Avery? How could you kill her baby?”

“Guy, there’s more to it than that. It was a situation where I had to act fast or else watch your sister lose herself to a less than satisfactory life. She was barely pregnant and…” Brooke tried to rationalize her actions knowing full well that her son wasn’t hearing it.

“That was a life--a baby Mum,” he managed to get out feeling an ache crawl in over him, “All of these years everyone said that you were this horrible person, but I was convinced that they were wrong. I believed that you were someone to look up to--someone who just needed to be loved, but now…”

“I am all of those things Guy. If you could only hear me out,” Brooke pleaded with him once more trying to lean over the side of her bed.

“All I see when I look at you is someone who had everything, but let greed get in the way. I thought that you loved me--that you wanted to keep our family together. I even went so far as to deny the man I was in order to make you happy and this is how you take care of those who love you,” Guy threw his hands up in the air. “No more. I’m not going to be able to sit back and defend you any longer. I’m finished.”

“Guy,” Richard reached out to his son.

“No,” Guy shrugged his father’s touch off of his shoulder, “After all these years I spent hating you--thinking that you were the monster, the reality is that she is. She’s the one who has done everything to tear us all apart…”

“I just tried to give you and Avery the kind of life I never had. I wanted nothing but the best for the both of you. I wanted you to find love and be happy and…” Brooke insisted pleadingly.

“And I have that. Just like Avery did, but like Avery I had to hide that from you--I had to hide who I am because it was never good enough, but I’m not going to do that anymore,” Guy announced standing up taller and glaring down at his mother, “I’m done with impressing you--with trying to live up to your expectations. I’m finished with all of the lies and the deceptions. For years I’ve let you manipulate me just like you’ve done with Avery only I was worse. I willingly let you dictate my life, but no more.”

“Guy I love you. I’ve loved you from the moment you came to me and…” Brooke’s face was clouded with tears.

“And what? Don’t you think Avery would have wanted to have that in her life? That maybe she would’ve loved to be with her son or daughter as well? She’s happy with Russ and…” Guy argued with her further rage pouring out from within.

“Russ would never make her happy. He’s a second rate citizen with a second rate career and a life that’s leading him no where,” Brooke sneered over at Richard hating him for opening this conversation in front of their son.

“No mom. Russ is exactly everything you wanted for Avery,” Guy let out an ironic laugh seeing how deluded his mother truly was.

“He’s far from where I wanted my daughter to be in this world. I wanted her to find a good husband who could give her a wonderful life and…” Brooke tried to reason with her son.

“And what is it about him that makes you want to do what you’ve done?” Richard questioned in a gruff tone, “What is it about Russ that you couldn’t just let him make our daughter’s dreams come true?”

“What kind of dreams could she have with someone like him when he’s from nothing? He’ll be nothing and he’ll always keep weighing her down…” Brooke argued with her husband unable to quell her opinions about Russell’s place in Avery’s life. “He’s nothing just like the rest of his family…”

“That’s where you’re wrong mom. He’s an amazing guy and he thinks the world of Avery. He can give her absolutely everything she’s ever wanted. He’s her everything and it was never, ever your place to steal that from her,” Guy shouted his voice cracking with anger.

“He would only drag her down. You must understand that when you are a parent you only want what is best for your child. I want what’s best for Avery much like I have always wanted for you,” Brooke attempted to appeal to her son once more, “I just want you to find a good woman you can love and have a family with and…”

“And it’s never going to happen Mum. It’s not going to happen because it’s not what I want to happen,” Guy blurted out no longer holding back on his heart, “because I’m gay.”

“What?” Brooke replied with a pinched expression. She blinked back at him before letting out a small laugh, “Oh Guy I know that you’re mad at me, but really why say such ridiculous things when…?”

“I’m gay,” he repeated with more determination behind his voice, “I always have been, but you’ve been too wrapped up in you to see it. I’ve been seeing someone for a while and he’s everything I ever could’ve asked for.”

“You couldn’t possibly mean that,” Brooke practically choked on the words, “No son of mine could be…”

“I am and I’m proud of that fact. For so long I thought that I could just hide it long enough for you to understand, but when it gets down to it, you’re never going to understand because all you care about is you. I tried to change myself to make you happy, but no more,” Guy threw his hands up in the air, “After what you did to Avery, I don’t think I can even stand to be in the same room with you. You make me sick!”

“Guy wait,” Brooke watched her son rush out of the room in a haste leaving her behind with a stunned Richard. She turned to snarl up at her husband, “Now look what you’ve done to our son. You’ve upset him to the point that he has to lash out like this.”

“He’s not lashing out. He’s being honest Brooke. He’s been right here underneath your nose all of this time, but you never once took the time to look at him and see him as he truly was,” Richard shook his head poignantly, “Just like everything else we once had. You never saw how truly blessed you were, but now you’ll know. Now that it’s all leaving you, you’ll see that life wasn’t nearly as mundane as you felt it to be.”

“Where are you going?” Brooke questioned in a panic watching Richard walk over to the door. “Richard!”

“I think you already know that answer,” Richard glanced over her with pure apathy, “and if you don’t well then you’re even more lost than I’d thought possible. And for the record you were wrong about Russ--dead wrong and it’s going to cost you absolutely everything.”

“Richard!” Brooke shouted calling out after him in the hopes of having him return to her, but her screams were falling upon deaf ears now that her lies were exposed. It was only a matter of time before everything caught up to her and suddenly Brooke found herself surrounded by an altogether new emotion for her--fear!


“So tell me everything that happened to you,” Chris helped Cori sit down before going over to the other side of the table and sitting across from her. “What did Diego do that made you want to ruin his tires like that?”

“He broke my heart, he tore it right out of me. There was another woman in his life and he…it doesn’t matter,” Cori shook her head hating the fact that Diego treated her like he had, but she still couldn’t find herself hating Diego like she wanted to. “I’ll be getting him back though, it doesn’t bother me that much anymore.”

“You’re taking him back?” Chris questioned spitting out some of his coffee as he let out a small gasp feeling the hot liquid travel down his chin. He wiped it off quickly, seeing Cori shrug her shoulders after his question. “How could you take a cheater back?”

“Well, it wasn’t his fault,” Cori tried to explain seeing the way that Chris’s eyes widened seeing her shrug her shoulders once more. “I mean it was all the other woman’s fault, she tricked him into doing it. When I get him back we will be together forever.”

“Cori, once a cheater always a cheater,” Chris choked, not believing what he was hearing. He always believed that if a person cheated on you, you should never ever get back with them or like them again. He would never--well, maybe for once exception in his life that happened a long time ago, but still. “I thought woman were smarter than this. How do you think slashing his tire is even going to be making you two get back together?”

“That’s where the smart part comes in,” Cori began, taking a sip of her coffee as Chris eyed her over slowly. She thought about the plan she had made a few days back over and over again. “When he walks out those doors and goes to his car, he can’t avoid. I can talk to him and…”

“Brown eyes, I don’t think that is going to be happening anytime soon,” Chris pointed out the window to the hospital parking lot. “That’s not Diego’s car you slashed the tires to. That’s the Chief of Staff‘s car.”

“You have to be kidding me,” Cori gasped watching the Chief of Staff kneel down looking at the tires, looking upset by the way his were deflated. “That’s not good.”

“I suggest you don’t try and talk to that guy,” Chris let out a small frown before a smile appeared over his lips. “You might want to second think another plan too while you're at it.”


A thick silence filled the room surrounding Cameron and Angela as he stared her down. He saw her demanding answers from him, but knowing what was at risk, he refused to budge. He took a casual step towards his desk.

“I’m not getting into this with you Angel,” he explained matter of fact, “I can’t do it.”

“Can’t or won’t?” she followed after him not bothering to back down to her brother like she’d done in the past, “Cameron, you tell me right now what you’re getting yourself involved in. You promised me that once our father died, you would walk away--that you’d stay away from the trouble he’d gotten himself into.”

“I know what I said Angel and that hasn’t changed,” Cameron sank into his chair, his dark gaze traveling to her eyes, “I’m not involved in what he was involved with--at least not directly.”

“In other words that’s a lie,” Angela shook her finger at him not allowing him to blow her off, “Cameron, what is going on? You’ve been running hot and cold for months…”

“And you haven’t been,” he tossed back at her smugly, “First you want to see me, then you can’t be bothered and now you prance into my home tossing out angry words at me. Angel, that’s not a way for us to delve into a family reunion.”

“Right now I’d rather delve into what you’ve done that’s made you public enemy number one in this place,” Angela explained with a heavy sigh, “Cam, what’s going on? You used to tell me everything, but now I feel out of the loop with you and even Kevin. He didn’t even tell me about his cousin and…”

“Really?” he arched a curious brow, “And why not?”

“I don’t know, but that’s not important. What is important right now is that you’re lying to me and I want the truth Cam. What are you doing in Coral Valley and why haven’t you told me about it?” she continued her dark eyes flashing with hints of anger.

“Let’s just say I’m doing what I swore to you I’d do. I’m protecting our family,” Cameron leaned in over his desk, “I swore to you that I would take care of you after our father died and that’s what I’m doing Angel. I’m taking care of you--of us…”

“Are you or are you on a suicide mission,” she questioned seeing something familiar in his eyes, “Oh my God. Cam, you’re here because you want revenge, aren’t you? You came to this place seeking out something darker than just a new start.”

“I’m doing what I need to in order to close the past behind us forever and you would be best to stay out of it. Business was never a place for you Angel and…” Cameron reminded her bluntly.

“Business my ass. Cam, you’re here because you found out what happened to our father, didn’t you? You’re here because you’ve found the person who did this to him, aren’t you?” she asked her voice raising with her questions, “Is that why you’ve kept me away?”

“I won’t let them take you from me as well. I know how awful it was when they…” Cameron’s words came to an abrupt half when his eyes fell upon her abdomen. Suddenly he lost all train of thought as he noticed the soft swell before him. Immediately his eyes shot up to hers again, “What is this?”

“What is what?” she questioned catching his stare and taking a step back, “Cameron, we need to talk about…”

“About you,” he rose up from his chair moving in closer to her, “Angel, what is going on?”

“Nothing,” she shook her head, “Don’t distract me Cameron. Right now I want to talk about you--to talk about what you’ve been keeping from me and…”

“And I’m obviously not the only one keeping secrets, am I?” he arched a speculative brow, “You’re pregnant, aren’t you?”

“Whether I’m pregnant or not isn’t relevant to the conversation we’re having right now,” she ignored his question, “I want to talk about you and…”

“And you’re pregnant,” Cameron pieced it all together, “that’s what has kept you away for so long. You’ve been moody and anxious and…I don’t believe this. You’re having a baby.”

“Cameron, I don’t want to talk about that. Right now I want to talk about you--about what you’re doing and…”

“Of course that’s what you want,” Cameron shook his head off of her, “because you don’t want me to go off and murder Kevin for doing this to you again, right? I mean that’s why you’re so upset. It makes sense now. When Kevin was here before he seemed different--upset and…”

“You saw Kevin?” her eyes widened.

He nodded, “He paid me a visit while he was here before and I noticed that he was moodier, but I had no idea that you and he were expecting…that…”

“Cameron, you’re doing it again. You’re changing the subject,” Angela interrupted with a frown, “You’re turning this on me when I want answers from you. Tell me about your wife--about your arrest and…”

“Why would we want to bother with that since the real topic at hand is how did this happen? When were you planning on telling me that you and Kevin were expecting? That‘s why he came to me isn‘t it? He was going to ask for your hand in marriage,” Cameron started to pace around the room, “He wanted to come to me for permission and…”

“Kevin wasn’t going to ask you permission to marry me,” Angela rolled her eyes at him, “He knows he doesn’t have to if we want to get married.”

“There is no if about this Angel. If Kevin is the man who did this to you, then he sure as hell better be planning on marrying you or else heads are going to roll,” Cameron replied sharply spinning around to face his sister again now that he realized they were presented with this whole new situation.

“Cameron, you don’t understand…” Angela shook her head at him taking a step forward.

“Of course I understand,” Cameron replied after a long moment of contemplation, “and right now, well even though I’m not happy with how it came about, I must admit that I’m beyond thrilled to have the Stone Legacy continue. I’m happy for your Angel.”

“Cameron I…” Angela started to explain only to feel him embrace her. Sure, she’d thought about what it would be like to have Cameron learn that she was pregnant, but never in her wildest dreams did she imagine it would end up like this once Cameron learned about the babies. Still feeling him hug her tightly, she realized that she’d missed this connection with her brother. Wrapping her arms around him, she hugged him in response before whispering in her ear, “I still hate that you lied to me Cam.”

“I’m sorry, but I did it to protect you Angel. Everything I’ve done, it’s been to protect you,” Cameron whispered in response promising himself that now he would find a way to end the nightmare that had hung over them since their father’s demise. One way or another he would find a way to make those responsible pay. He’d already paved the road for the ultimate repayment and soon nothing anyone in Coral Valley did or said would have an opportunity to change that!


“Back off Denton,” Hart warned again watching Grady step away from the situation.

“Look, why don’t you both cool down?” Ken offered up looking between Hart and Grady, “None of this is helping anything. Grady, I realize you and my brother haven’t been seeing eye to eye lately, but what is between Brant and Avery isn’t any of our business. They’ve had their share of problems, but…”

“But nothing. I’m not going to let him stand back and destroy my family for his own twisted pleasure,” Grady argued with him, “He’s already done enough to confuse Avery, but…”

“She’s his wife,” Hart interrupted catching an elbow in the ribs from Jenna.

“Stay out of it,” she urged him on worried that he would erupt over his friend’s troubles.

“I can’t just stay out of it especially not when he and his brother are…” Hart started to respond to her.

“His brother,” Ken spun around to face Hart confused by what he was hearing, “What do you mean his brother?”

“You mean you haven’t heard the news yet?” Grady’s eyes widened in response, “And here I thought news traveled fast in this town. The reason why he’s talking about my brother is because my niece was born and my brother just so happens to be…”

“Ken, there you are,” Don interrupted walking out of the doors in front of all of them, “I was looking all over for you.”

“How’s Brant? Have you heard anything?” Hart asked, but judging by the expression on Don’s face, it was obvious he had. “What is it? Don, what’s going on?”

“It’s not good,” Don sighed heavily bringing his hands up to his neck and shoulders, “In light of everything that’s just happened I think Brant took it harder than anyone could’ve imagined. I was just in with his doctor and we see now that Brant has slipped into a catatonic state. It’s as if he’s had a complete meltdown…”

“What?” Ken’s eyes widened in astonishment, “Don, what are you saying?”

“I’m saying that physically he looks like everything should be fine, but mentally,” Don shook his head poignantly, “He’s had a complete meltdown and nothing is snapping him out of it. I’m afraid all of the pressure has finally gotten to him. Ken, I’m sorry…”


“I’m not interrupting anything am I?” Kellen questioned with a wide smile, folding his arms out in front of his chest as he watched Sarah move away from Diego. “What are you two up to?”

“Nothing,” Diego answered quickly, a nervous crack behind his voice as he saw Kellen’s blue eyes narrow over in his direction. “We were just talking about Charles and everything.”

“Charles,” Kellen nodded slowly, looking over at Sarah before smiling widely. “You guys have been in here for quite a while. Aren’t you worried or caring about what is happening in the room with Kyle and Heather while they are with Charles?”

“What are they doing? Just holding Charles or playing with him?” Sarah muttered seeing Kellen tilt his head to the side before wiggling his eyebrows up and down. “What does that mean?”

“It means, I think something more is going on here,” Kellen pointed out walking in towards Sarah. He looked over at Diego seeing him looking more nervous than she was. “So, why don’t you tell me what exactly was going on in here.”

“Come on Kellen, where is that bottle?” Heather walked into the kitchen, breaking the tension between everyone as Kellen glanced over his shoulder to see Heather standing in the doorway. “I sent you in her a while ago, where is the bottle slow poke?”

“I’m sorry, I got a little caught up with something mysterious,” Kellen wiggled his eyebrows up and down once more, a wide smirk appearing over his features. He felt Sarah push past him and out of the kitchen around Heather as a small gasp escaped his lips. “Would you look at that.”

“What’s with her?” Heather looked back after seeing Sarah push her way out of the kitchen. She glanced over at Diego seeing him shrug his shoulders before looking down at the watch on his wrist. “She could have said excuse me you know.”

“I just think someone has her panties in a bunch. Maybe she isn’t getting any,” Kellen simply shrugged his shoulders before letting out a deep sigh and walking towards the door. Kellen stopped before leaving the kitchen as he looked back over his shoulder at Diego. “Or maybe she is.”

“Who knows,” Diego nodded seeing Kellen leave the room before he glance over at Heather who was now staring into his dark eyes. “What is it?”

“I know what this is,” Heather began with a small laugh, looking down towards the ground and shaking her head. “I know why she was so upset. I know exactly what you two were talking about. I can’t believe I didn’t see it before this moment, but now I know it. After talking to Kyle, he knows it too.”


“I can’t believe Kellen,” Sarah let out a deep sigh, walking into the living room pacing back and forth slowly. She had to get away from everybody in that kitchen, all of them were making her nervous. Mainly Diego by the way he was acting and talking to her. “How could I do something like that?”

“Do something like what?” Kyle questioned from behind Sarah as she turned around to see Kyle standing by Charles’s room, holding Charles in his arms tightly. “What did you do Sarah?”

“What I meant was,” Sarah paused for a second seeing the way that Kyle was staring her down carefully. She took a step in closer to Kyle as she tried to explain herself. “I was just worried about something I did. I forgot to call Blake earlier and I felt really bad.”

“Really,” Kyle’s eyebrows tensed as he looked down at Charles, who was now feeding on his bottle and looking up at Kyle with his big eyes. “So why did you have a hard time telling me that? It took you long enough to tell me that you know.”

“You think I’m lying to you?” Sarah questioned seeing Kyle looking up at her with his dark eyes look into hers. “Kyle, you know I wouldn’t lie to you.”

“Do I know that?” Kyle watched Sarah closely, seeing the way that Sarah seemed to be getting more worried by the moment. “If you are telling me the truth, then why are you getting nervous. Do you see me getting nervous in front of you?”

“I told you that I was thirsty Kyle, it’s just a little hot in here,” Sarah tried to explain seeing the look of disbelief spread over his features. “What do you think I’m hiding from you?”

“I’m thinking, I know Sarah,” Kyle explained with a small shake of his head, seeing Sarah’s eyes grow wide as he spoke up. “Did you think I was dumb? Did you think I was blind? I mean come on, how much of an idiot do you think I am?”

“Kyle, listen before you think anything I have to explain something to you,” Sarah tried to explain seeing Kyle cut her off with a small shake of his head as he looked down at Charles.

“Please Sarah, Heather told me,” Kyle frowned looking up at her with a small shake of his head. He held Charles tighter in his arms before letting out a small laugh. “I know I must seem like a big idiot to you and you may think the same thing about Heather, but we’re smarter than that Sarah. I know exactly what you and Diego have going on.”

Sarah’s heart skipped a beat as she watched Kyle look at her with his dark eyes. How did they know about everything? Was it Diego? Better yet, what was she going to say to Kyle to make things better?


...to be continued...