Episode 291

Seth’s car rounded the circular driveway leading up to the Ashford mansion as Blake suggested that they take some time to speak with her family for a while now that her Aunt Zoë was back in town. However, once they neared the estate, she noticed that there were cars lined up over the drive causing her to question what was going on.

“What is this?” Blake frowned as Seth pulled the car to a stop.

“It looks like someone is having a party,” Seth noted getting out of the car with her. The two heard music coming from inside and exchanged curious looks.

“That doesn’t seem right,” Blake frowned nearing the porch, “I mean sure we have parties here and all, but never like this. This seems so rowdy and chaotic so unlike…”

The door opened before Blake could finish her statement and a woman with platinum blonde hair, cherry red lips, with a beer in hand and clad in a wet t-shirt answered the door with a bright grin. “Oh you must be here with the beer.”

“I most certainly am not,” Blake pushed her way inside with Seth following behind her. Her eyes widened in horror when she caught wind of the raunchy party taking place in her home. There was something about all of this that simply felt out of place. It was as if this was some kind of practical joke show where someone would jump out from behind the camera at any second and let her know this was all to shock and stun her into making an audience laugh. However there was no camera and those people that did surround her looked like they were making work of home. She saw one man with a can of spray paint aiming it at one of the priceless works of art on the wall and she rushed forward.

“Don’t you dare even think about that!” Blake shouted out snatching the spray paint can from him. “I swear to you if you even think about destroying or demolishing one more thing in here, then so help me God I will not only have you arrested, but I will personally hire someone to be your boyfriend in jail for the rest of your life.”

“Gees,” the guy frowned back at her, “I was just trying to have a little fun.”

“Not like that you aren’t,” Blake sneered at him feeling Seth walk up beside her.

“Hey, you okay,” Seth questioned touching her shoulder gently.

“No, I’m not okay. Seth look at my home. This place is being ripped apart at the seams and I don’t understand why this is going on considering that…” Blake trailed off seeing Kyle standing over by the staircase with a very much alive Russell Denton at his side. Her jaw dropped in horror, but still she remained focused. Turning to look at Seth once again she held up her index finger, “I’ll be right back.”

“Um okay,” Seth nodded feeling someone beside him almost knock down one of the sculptures. He quickly grabbed it before it hit the floor in a quick save. “Whew, that was close.”

Blake barely caught wind of what was going on with Seth behind her now that she kept her eyes glued on Kyle. Marching through the crowd with a determined beat she stomped over to her best friend’s boyfriend and glared up at him, “What the hell is going on here?”

“Blake,” Kyle recognized her right away greeting her with a smile, “hey how’s it going?”

“It was going a lot better before I came inside,” Blake squealed emphatically, “What is happening here?”

“It’s called a party sis,” Russell replied with a smirk of his own, “Can I get you a drink?”

“What the hell are you doing here? How the hell can you be here and what in the world is happening to my house?” Blake shouted out above the noise feeling someone bump into her from behind. “Well, anyone?”

“It’s just a party,” Kyle shrugged his shoulders, “a homecoming party that’s all.”

“This is more than a party Kyle and I swear to you if these people aren’t out of here in the next three seconds then…” Blake began ready to lash out at him when she felt someone pick her up from behind.

“Hey beautiful, how’s it going?” the man cheered raising her up through the crowd in some kind of mock mosh pit.

“Seth!” Blake squealed excitedly kicking in an attempt to get people to let her down. Seth weaved through the crowd trying to make his way over to her.

“Should we do something to help out?” Russ questioned seeing Blake’s agitation growing by the second.

“Nah, I think Seth has it covered,” Kyle shrugged his shoulders seeing her returning into Seth’s protective embrace, “Besides it might’ve gotten her into the party spirit.”

“Kyle, are you sure this is a good idea,” Russ couldn’t help but ask knowing that right about now they weren’t exactly making themselves friends with the Ashford family.

“I’m positive,” Kyle glanced up the spiral staircase, “because if nothing else this will motivate Brant to get his butt out of bed and prove to the world that he’s faking this.”

“And if he doesn’t,” Russ asked wearily.

“Trust me. He’ll crack over this,” Kyle heard the sound of glass breaking in the distance, “What man wouldn’t with this much on the line?”

“I hope so,” Russell frowned worried that this plan to get Brant to out himself could turn out ugly if it didn’t work right. If this went bad it could blow up in Russell’s face in more ways than he even wanted to imagine right about now.


Avery heard the sound of music filling her ears as she lay beside Brant trying to think of some miracle solution for helping him. Opening her eyes she looked around the room swearing that she heard some kind of giggling outside the door. She paused for a moment hearing the beats of a Cowboy Troy song filling through the house alerting her that maybe just maybe something big was happening outside of Brant’s room.

“What is going on out there,” she frowned standing up and giving Brant one last look. She walked over to the door seeing two people making out on the opposite wall. There were another two people in some kind of cat and mouse costume running through the hallway and she stepped back into the room wondering if she lost her mind.

She turned her attention to Brant again who had made no move from the time she’d first arrived in his room. Stepping over to his bedside she reached out to touch his hand for a brief second.

“I’ll be back in a minute. I have to see what’s going on,” she whispered her promise to him before making her way to the door and closing it carefully behind her.

Brant lay still for a moment or so hearing the sounds of the music only intensifying by the second. Opening his eyes, he felt a tight scowl press in over his lips. He sat up straighter rubbing at his arms before a sigh carried over him.

“What is going on out there,” he muttered aloud wondering what had driven Avery out of his room. No doubt it was Russ somehow since that man knew no sense of restraint or character.

Kicking his legs over the side of the bed Brant stood up needing to stretch out after laying so still for so very long. Sure, he was doing good so far in pulling this one off, but it was very taxing on his body. Walking over to the mirror he looked at his own tired reflection and he thought back to the moment this plan came into fruition.

“You don’t want to lose her, right,” he could hear Don’s voice echoing in his mind.

“Of course not, but now that Russell has come back, I know he’s going to do everything in his power to get her back. Even that tale he spun about Nicholas, well that’s only going to drive her further into his arms,” Brant had worried about the future of his marriage, “If Shannon wouldn’t have come in and botched things up with the DNA test like she did…”

“Yeah, well I think when she got her eyes on that juicy tidbit about Russ being your brother,” Don shuddered at the thought.

“That doesn’t change anything,” Brant insisted firmly, his dark eyes narrowing with a strong determination, “Avery is my wife and she and Erin should be with me, not Russ. He can’t give them the life or the love that I could and deep down Avery knows that. Russ is just pushing all the right buttons in her to turn her away from me.”

“Well then maybe it’s time you push back,” Don suggested after a moment’s contemplation, “Maybe it’s time you fight fire with fire.”

“What do you have in mind that I do short of having a hit man take him out, which by the way my father clearly went for,” Brant grumbled thinking about how his father had already mucked his life up already by getting involved in Brant’s relationship with Avery.

“I say you hit Russ hard where it hurts. He might think that he’s got Avery at his disposal, but I have an idea that’s going to save your marriage guaranteed,” Don had promised proposing details of the plan that lead to the here and now.

“It’s going to work,” Brant gave himself a pep talk thinking about how badly he wanted to hold Avery in his arms when she was laying with him earlier. He knew full well that she loved him--that a part of her would always be in love with him. As long as she was still his wife, Brant could find a way to convince her that they belonged with one another. Yes, he hated lying to her--hated deceiving her, but there was no other way to get her to follow her heart.

“I know you love me Avery. I know that we can be happy together,” Brant touched the wedding ring on his finger vowing that he would find a way to keep his wife. Yes, he’d swore to himself that he wouldn’t deceive her--that the lying about Erin’s paternity was a big mistake, yet when he’d seen her and Russ with one another, he knew that left him on shaky ground.

Brant knew that he couldn’t let Russell Denton come back and reclaim the life that was now rightfully Brant’s. When Avery was at her lowest point it had been Brant that had been there to help her, to protect and love her, not Russ. Brant was the one who had given her a new life--a new world of happiness and it was Brant that she was meant to spend the rest of her life with. He would prove that to her.

“And when I do, you’re going to be finished Denton,” Brant mouthed to himself hearing the music blaring outside of his room. He looked over to the door thinking about how he’d love to watch the fireworks take place now that Avery was seeing first hand how childish Russ would be, but logic told him he had to be patient. At this rate Russell Denton would no doubt sabotage himself and when he did, everything would fall into place as it should be. It would only be a matter of time before Brant was with Avery and Erin and once that happened, nothing in this world or any other would ever be able to bring Russell Denton back into her life again.


“Don,” Shannon laughed feeling Don’s arm wrap around her waist tightly as he nuzzled in against her neck, letting out a tiny chuckle as she tried to push him away from her. “We really should get up instead of staying in bed all morning.”

“I don’t want to get up, I‘m loving having you in my arms too much to get up and leave you,” Don replied pressing a small kiss against the side of her neck gently before letting out another small chuckle feeling her pull away from him and laugh. “Is my darling wife ticklish? Are you?”

“No, I’m not ticklish,” Shannon lied trying to move away from him as he tried to do the same thing and kiss her neck in the same spot. “Don, stop it.”

“Oh, so it does tickle,” Don smiled widely hearing her let out another small laugh as he pulled her in closer to him. He got in above her slowly grabbing her wrists in his right hand tightly before lifting them up over her head. “If that tickles, I know you are a very ticklish person, so let’s see where else…”

“Don, don’t,” Shannon laughed feeling him tickling at her side, making her face turn red with how much laughter he was sending her into. “Don please.”

“You want me to stop?” he questioned seeing her nod slowly before he paused, itching his chin with his left hand and shrugging his shoulders. “You have to give me a kiss before I stop.”

“Is that it?” she saw him nod as she leaned up to kiss him quickly, feeling him let go of her hands. “That was easy.”

“You gave me what I asked for,” Don shrugged falling next to her on the bed before letting out a small sigh. He wrapped his arm around her waist feeling her snuggle in closer to him as he leaned forward and pressed a tiny kiss against her lips. “So, why wouldn’t I let you out?”

“As of right now, I don’t want you to let me out of your arms,” Shannon closed her eyes loving the feeling of having Don’s strong bicep wrapped around her waist tightly. “Donny?”

“Yes Shanny?” Don chuckled nuzzling his nose in against her neck before letting out a small laugh feeling her wrap her arm around his. “What’s on your mind sweetheart?”

“I just wanted to say that I’m sorry about what happened last night,” Shannon let out a deep breath, her thoughts still all jumbled and worried about everything that she had done last night. “I really do love you it’s just, I think it would be better if you tried to stay away from Brant’s stupidity.”

“Well, we’ll see what happens,” he pushed that subject out of the way before looking up at the ceiling of his old bedroom. “She should feel happy about being here with me in my old bedroom. You know, you are the first girl that was ever allowed to spend the night and lay in the same bed with me. My parents would have never let that happen back in the day, but they let you stay here with me.”

“I guess I should feel really good about that then,” Shannon smiled realizing that Don wanted to get off the subject of Brant, but she knew they had to talk about it. Not only for their relationship, just to make sure that Don never got himself in some serious and big trouble. “About Brant though, will you promise me that you won’t partake in anymore of Brant’s stupidity?”

“I’ll do what’s right,” Don nodded slowly, getting up and sitting on the edge of the bed. He ran his hand through his hair slowly before reaching down and grabbing his shirt from the ground. Shannon sat up in bed as he stood up and pulled his shirt on slowly. “Speaking of Brant, I do have to go check up on him and see how he is doing. I need to make sure that the doctors have everything all set and that they are ready to take the next step in seeing what is wrong with him.”

“Alright, of course honey,” Shannon stood up from the bed, getting in from behind Don and wrapping her arms around his shoulders as he reached for his car keys and wallet that was on the nightstand. “I hope everything goes okay for you.”

“I’m sure it will,” Don grabbed one of her hands in his before kissing the back of it gently. “Will you be able to let yourself out? I’m kind of late, I promised the doctors that I would be there a little bit earlier. Is that okay?”

“Of course it is honey,” Shannon felt Don turn around in her arms before leaning in and pressing his fingertips in against her cheek gently, “I love you.”

“I love you too,” Don grinned bending down and kissing Shannon slowly, feeling her arm slide in around his waist as he let out a tiny laugh when she fell in against his chest. “I won’t try and make the next kiss so dreamy because I think you just fell for me.”

“Don,” Shannon laughed tugging at the collar of his shirt gently before letting him go and giving him one last kiss. “I’ll talk to you later sweetheart.”

“Bye honey,” Don waved goodbye as he slowly walked out his bedroom door leaving Shannon alone in the middle of his old bedroom.

“Something tells me that Brant is still up to something bad,” Shannon sat down on Don’s bed, reaching out for a younger picture of Don and Brant together with Ken and they were pulling a wrestling move out on Ken. “Wow, that’s not nice.”

A sudden sound made Shannon jump before she realized it was her cell phone that was vibrating on the nightstand next to the bed. She rolled her eyes at her dumbness before reaching out and grabbing her cell phone.

“Hello,” Shannon answered her cell phone reaching out to grab her shoes from the ground before switching the phone to her other ear.

“Shannon,” Grady’s voice brightly echoed through her ears as he let out a small laugh hearing her deep breath from the other side. “Well, it’s nice to hear from you too.”

“That wasn’t directed towards you, I’m just a little bit tired that’s all,” Shannon explained with a small yawn hearing Grady let out another small laugh at the other end of the cell phone. “So, what’s on your mind?”

“Well, since you obviously still need to wake up I was thinking that I would take you to breakfast,” Grady informed her with a small smile, leaning his head back against the car seat as he went on with explaining his plans. “I have some free time and I was hoping that maybe we could get together for some breakfast and have a chat about everything that has been happening in our lives lately.”

“Actually, the way things seem to be going right now,” Shannon stood up from the bed, walking over towards the window and pushing open the blinds to take a look outside. “I would say that sounds really good.”


Hart stood in the kitchen looking out the window as his thoughts lingered to Brant. It was bad enough that everything had been so crazy lately in trying to save Ken from himself with Michelle, but now for Brant to learn that his worst enemy and biggest rival was not only alive, but his brother as well, well it had to push him more than over the edge and that concerned Hart. As much as he tried not to focus on what was happening with Brant, the thought simply couldn’t leave his mind even after he and Jenna had gone home with one another.

“Hey you,” Jenna slid her arms around his waist squeezing him gently as she tipped up on her toes to rest her chin on his shoulder. She whispered warmly in the back of his ear while her arms curled around his torso, fingers teasing over the warmth of his chest, “A penny for your thoughts.”

“Make it fifty dollars and we might be in business,” Hart teased with a small smile wrapping his hands over hers. He moved her fingers to his lips and kissed them gently taking the time to savor the softness of her skin.

“You’re still worried about Brant, aren’t you?” she couldn’t help but ask seeing so many things happening beyond what he was saying to her.

He nodded in confession, “I can’t help but be worried about him. He’s one of my best friends and truth be told I have never seen him like this. Granted he’s had a lot to deal with over the years, but this, well I just don’t know what’s going to happen to him now that he stands to lose everything.”

“He’s not going to lose everything,” Jenna tried to offer up encouragement, but deep down she was certain that Russell’s return would spell the end of what Brant was hoping for with Avery.

“Jen, come on. Neither one of us are that naïve. Avery is going to leave him without so much as a second thought now that Russ is back. Everything he’s given to her over the last few months is going to be forgotten simply because that jerk is back,” Hart frowned down at her turning to face her at long last. “Avery’s not going to take into consideration how much Brant has done for her.”

“Russ and Avery have been in love with one another for as long as I can remember Hart. That’s not something that you can just forget about over night,” she replied honestly with a small sigh over her lips. “They have a history and a daughter.”

“Yes, but what about Brant? What about all he’s done to make sure that Avery and her daughter were safe? He sacrificed himself time and time again for her and this is how she repays him? By leaving him?” he shook his head again, “It’s not right Jen.”

“I’m not saying that this situation isn’t awful, but I really, truly don’t believe Avery is trying to hurt Brant. Her heart was shattered when Russ died and now that he’s back, well they are finally given the chance to have the kind of dreams of a family that they have waited their entire lives for.”

“But what about Brant’s dreams?” he mouthed in frustration, “What about all of the plans he made?”

“Hart if you were taken away from me and suddenly you were able to make it home only to discover that I was with someone else, would you just forget what we had--what we could still have in front of us simply because there was another man in my life,” Jenna challenged arching a curious brow at him.

“This isn’t like that,” he wrinkled his nose in avoidance to her question.

“Oh come on. Hart you know full well that you would do everything in your power to find a way back to me and our baby,” she placed her hand over her abdomen protectively, “Admit it.”

“Okay, so maybe I would, but that doesn’t mean that I can’t feel for my best friend here. I know he’s going to be hurting if and when he snaps out of the state he’s in,” Hart insisted with another frown.

“I know he’s going to have some difficult times ahead of him, but I’m sure he’ll be able to make it through this somehow,” she stepped forward to embrace him once again, “After all he has you as one of his best friends, right?”

“True,” Hart couldn’t help but smile at her encouraging tone, “but I just don’t know if it’ll be enough.”

“Right now why don’t we just focus on him getting better and work from that,” she suggested feeling him slide his fingers into her long hair, his gaze drifting to her lips as if he wanted to kiss her, but before he could follow through on the sentiment there was a ringing of the doorbell alerting them that they were no longer alone.

“Sounds like someone else had something on their mind,” Jenna noted hearing the bell again. She stepped back and motioned to the door, “I’ll get it.”

“No, I can do it,” Hart decided giving her a quick kiss before going over to the door. He opened it only to discover Sam on the other side looking up at him expectantly.

“Where were you?” Sam couldn’t help but ask walking into the apartment without invitation. “I thought that we were going to meet up with one another for breakfast and…”

“The party,” Hart wanted to smack himself upside the head when he suddenly remembered his promise to his daughter, “I forgot.”

“I kind of figured,” Sam replied reaching into the book bag that hung over her shoulder. She pulled out a brown paper bag and handed it over to him, “which is why I brought some breakfast for you and Jenna, though right now I don’t think it’s going to be breakfast. It’ll be more like brunch or lunch or something…”

“Thanks,” Hart smiled accepting the bag and realizing just how truly sweet his daughter was. She was so happy and easygoing that Hart found it hard to believe that he’d actually been lucky enough to have a daughter like her.

“What?” Sam tipped her head to the side to give him a strange look, “Did I do something wrong?”

“No not at all,” Hart shook his head his smile growing wider as Jenna returned to the room to see Sam.

“Oh hey Sam,” Jenna waved at her brightly.

“Hey Jen, how are you?” Sam questioned waving back at her, “I hope you’re hungry because I brought over something for the both of you since Hart forgot about breakfast.”

“That was today?” Jenna’s eyes widened in surprise before she looked over to Hart.

“I’m so sorry about that,” Hart cleared his throat uneasily, “I guess I’ve just had a lot on my mind since one of my best friends is in the hospital and…”

“Oh my gosh,” Sam gasped looking to him again with a worried expression, “is your friend going to be okay?”

“I hope so,” Hart offered up before peering down at the bag in his hands, “so what did you bring me?”

“I brought you both only what I consider to be one of the best batch of bagels in Coral Valley. There is this little shop down by the college campus and…”

“Millie’s?” Jenna couldn’t help but ask her eyes perking up at the thought.

“That’s right,” Sam nodded in confession a small laugh spilling over her, “I am like addicted to their blueberry, cinnamon, apple bagels.”

“Oh those are the best,” Jenna agreed with her, “I know I used to constantly sneak over there during my lunch break to try out their newest creations.”

“That’s one of the best, though the mint chocolate chip, double Oreo fudge bagels are good too,” Sam added enthusiastically.

“Mint chocolate chip, double oreo fudge?” Hart arched a wrinkled brow before giving her a strange look. “That doesn’t at all sound like a bagel, but rather a dessert.”

“It’s a tiny piece of heaven and you should try one some time,” Sam added glancing over at him, “though I must admit I didn’t know if you were up to being that wild and crazy today, so I went with just the basics this time.”

“Always good to stick to tradition,” Jenna decided stepping forward to inspect the contents of the bag, “and while I’d love to stick around and catch up, I have to get in to work. I promised I’d come in early today and help out the new guy on the scene. Since I’ll be taking some time off for maternity leave, they are trying to get someone else to fill in temporarily for when I’m gone.”

“You have to leave now?” Hart frowned.

“I won’t be too long, but you two have fun,” Jenna extracted a bagel from the bag before looking to Sam, “Thanks again for this and I’ll see you both later.”

“Bye Jenna,” Sam waved before reaching for the bag herself and grabbing another bagel.

“Bye sweetheart,” Hart walked Jenna over to the door, closing it behind her after her exit. Turning around he spotted Sam taking a bite out of her bagel. She grinned over at him.

“I guess I’m still a little hungry,” she offered up with a small shrug before eyeing him expectantly, “So tell me, since you forgot about breakfast did you also forget about asking your friend about our getting together today.”

“Surprisingly I did not forget that one,” Hart assured her with a small laugh, “My head might be somewhere else half of the time but I guess where it counts I keep it together long enough to get something important going. Rob should be expecting us in a little bit.”

“How little?” Sam questioned nibbling on her bagel once again.

“Actually,” Hart glanced at his watch before looking to her again, “How about now? You ready to get on over there?”

“Oh yeah,” she nodded excitedly, “I can’t wait to see how this goes because I want this party to be absolutely perfect for Wayne.”

“I’m sure we can make it be perfect,” Hart promised thrilled to see Sam so enthused about the party she was planning. “I’m positive that Wayne is going to love it simply because you put a lot of thought and heart into it.”

“I hope so,” Sam tucked her half eaten bagel into a napkin she extracted from her bag. She slipped it into the front pocket before looking up at Hart again, “and for it’s worth before we get too buried in party planning I just want to say thank you. You didn’t have to help me with this, but I’m very grateful that you did. I’d never be able to pull this off without you.”

“Hey if it’s something my little girl needs, then…” Hart stopped himself feeling an uneasiness carry over him.

“Then I appreciate it,” Sam finished for him before he could say anything else. “Thanks dad.”

Hart smiled at the warmth he felt by that word. He couldn’t help but feel as if he and Sam had made some major progress with one another. Feeling like he’d had a huge weight lifted off of his shoulders he stepped forward to give her an awkward embrace.

“You’re very welcome,” Hart whispered feeling her hug him in return as he wondered if maybe this was the beginning of a new world of happiness for him with his daughter. Maybe just maybe life would one day get to normal again.


“So, you think I should just leave that guy and tell him to blow off next time he wants me back?” Cori questioned taking a sip of her smoothie as she looked up at Lindsay who nodded slowly. “Even if I do want him back?”

“You can’t give him the privilege of hurting you again Cori,” Lindsay informed Cori reaching out to squeeze her hand tightly. “You can get him back later, you just have to make sure he is worthy enough to have you back. Make him beg for you not the other way around.”

“I’m taking advice from a fourteen year old,” Cori chuckled taking another sip of her drink before letting out another tiny laugh. “How do you know so much about this.”

“I told you, I have to know this because I do write my stories you know,” Lindsay informed Cori with a small shrug, shaking her smoothie around a bit before letting out a small sigh.

“So, if this was one of your stories,” Cori began taking in a deep breath as she thought about how Lindsay would answer this next question, “what would you have my character do?”

“Me? What would I make your character do?” Lindsay repeated the questioned seeing Cori nod slowly as she shrugged her shoulders and thought about the answer to that question. “Well, I guess I would have to say that I wouldn’t put your character back with your ex-boyfriend. In fact, if it was one of my stories--I would make your character go after the girl’s boyfriend. The girl that your ex-boyfriend had cheated with doesn’t deserve her boyfriend. Her boyfriend doesn’t sound bad looking and I’m not being totally one sided because it’s not like I haven’t seen someone who looks like that around here, but I would make your character get with the hunk.”

“I think your stories are going to be very interesting kiddo,” Cori chuckled patting the table gently with her hand before shrugging her shoulders. “It’s sounds like an interesting plan there.”

“It could work,” Lindsay tried to assure Cori, shrugging her shoulders as she thought of a scene that could go on. “I’m not saying it’s going to happen, but could you imagine if the ex and that one girl walked into the middle of your character and the girl’s boyfriend having…”

“Lindsay,” Cori gasped looking out at Lindsay as she shrugged her shoulders not quite knowing what she was getting yelled at for. “You really like to torture your characters in your story don’t you?”

“No, I just like drama, I was just saying anyways--it would be a great twist,” Lindsay offered up looking over towards the door to see some of her friends waiting for her. “Oh, there are my buddies. I’ll see you later Cori--thanks for the smoothie.”

“No problem kiddo,” Cori winked seeing Lindsay go to walk away before turning around to face Cori once more. “What’s up?”

“Don’t forget what I said,” Lindsay snapped her fingers at Cori before shrugging her shoulders. “It would be a real slap in the face if the girl got with the other girl’s boyfriend.”

“Yeah, yeah,” Cori chuckled shaking her head slowly only to see Lindsay quickly walk over to her friends before walking out the doors of the gym. “Good and interesting idea, but it would be kind of harsh.”

“Hey there,” Rob took a seat across from Cori, pulling the chair in closer to the table as he laid his hands out in front of him. “I see my daughter cut out on you earlier than I thought.”

“Oh, it’s okay,” Cori shrugged her shoulders leaning forward towards Rob as she thought back to the conversation that her and Lindsay were having. “Lindsay is a great kid, very mature for her age. She takes after her father, she is a very intelligent person.”

“She gets the brains from her mother, believe me when I say that,” Rob winked letting out a small laugh before shaking his head slowly, “I think the only thing she inherited from me was the athletic side to her and the eyes. Other than that, her mother is a real influence on her. Donny boy is too, she looks up to her big brother.”

“I miss your family a lot Rob,” Cori sighed thinking back to when she was younger on the basketball team, “I mean everyone was so nice. Don was going to college but he was the greatest. Everyone was absolutely great and I miss that.”

“Well, if you miss it so much,” Rob began slowly standing up from the table before walking backwards very slowly, “my door is open anytime for you. We would love to have you over for dinner anytime, but right now if you will excuse me I have some work I need to attend to. I will be back in a little bit, just stay here a minute.”


“Please, have a seat,” Kipp led Zoë over towards the leather couch, motioning her to take a seat next to him once he took a seat. “I won’t bite you.”

“I know,” Zoë half smirked taking a seat on the end of the couch before looking over at Kipp, “I would never think you were capable of hurting someone.”

“Well, I’m not a bad guy,” Kipp agreed before shrugging his shoulders and rubbing his hands together, “so you came over to talk about something. Anything particular?”

“I was just coming to try and talk to you,” Zoë informed him with a small shrug seeing his dark eyes following her every movement as she thought of words to say to him. Before she came here she knew what she was going to say and how she was going to say it, but now that she was here with him in front of her--she had no idea to say what she wanted to say. “I don’t want you to be mad at me.”

“I really can’t judge you, but can I ask you one thing?” Kipp questioned with a pained expression seeing her nod quickly as he thought how to put his words together without sounding like a jerk. “What exactly went on with you and my father back in the day? I mean, what happened all together in the past?”

“I was young and I thought I was in love with your father,” Zoë explained thinking back to her past with Douglas. As she tried to explain it to Kipp, she herself was trying to understand why she was with Douglas. “I don’t know why I thought that, I was young and stupid I suppose. Everything I did was wrong back in the day.”

“I understand that you were young, but why give me up?” Kipp couldn’t help but question seeing her run her shaky hands through her dark hair slowly. “I mean, if you had me and you loved me--why did you walk away? Why walk away?”

“I was stupid, your father put me in a bad way. He tried convincing me that he would be a good father and that he would let you run the business,” she shook her head slowly, wishing that she could just go back in time and change things before they turned wrong. “I thought you would have a better life Kipp with another family and Douglas knew I was leaning towards that. Once I put you up for adoption he somehow tricked me and took you from me. I’m sorry I made that bad decision and I know you probably will hate me…”

“Hate you?” Kipp questioned with a small laugh shaking his head slowly before letting out a small frown. “Why would I hate you? My father is ridiculous and I understand you were young. The only thing that I can count on right now is that you are here. At least I have a mother now.”

“You mean, you understand?” Zoë whispered seeing a smile appear over Kipp’s features as he nodded slowly. Zoë let out a small breath of relief as she thought about all the explanations she could have used, but they weren’t necessary because Kipp really was being understandable. “So, you’re not mad?”

“No, how could I be at my mother?” Kipp watched her for a moment before motioning her to come and hug him. He held her in his arms tightly before giving her a small squeeze. “Just do me a favor and don’t leave me again. Okay?”

“I think I can do that,” Zoë nodded with a small smile as she leaned back slowly before letting out a small gasp. “Oh, I forgot to tell you--you have a younger brother.”

“A younger brother?” Kipp chuckled seeing her nod slowly before he shrugged his shoulders and stood up from the couch. He looked around the house for a moment before shaking his head slowly. “So, since I really know nothing yet--what’s his name?”

“Daniel,” she informed him with a small nod, following his steps and standing up from the couch to walk over towards him. “About the not knowing so much about your family yet, maybe we could work on that.”

“I think I would like that,” Kipp decided reaching his hand down to grab his mother’s hand in his gently. He gave it a small squeeze before smiling widely, “Mom.”


“See I told you that this was a good idea,” Heather mouthed reaching for a forkful of waffles. She dropped it into her mouth before looking over to Charles, who was now reaching out to steal a piece of food off of her plate. “No sweetheart. You can’t have that. You’re far too little to have this yet, though before you know it I’m sure you’ll be the one with a bigger appetite than mommy. Come to think of it you already kind of sort of have one…”

“He looks incredible Heather,” Diego couldn’t help but add thinking about how far Heather’s son had come in the few months that he’d been a part of this world. Everyone had been beyond worried due to his early arrival, yet Charles seemed to be running circles around everyone. Okay, so maybe that whole running thing was still a ways off, but he seemed to be growing into a very handsome little boy, “He’s got a lot of energy, doesn’t he?”

“More than I do most of the time,” Heather laughed lightly, “but when I took him in for his doctor’s appointment they told me that I’ll be seeing a lot more of it in the future. They said that he’s almost on track with other children his age and that I shouldn’t worry about him being small. They told me that he’s perfectly healthy and wonderful, but of course I already know that. Don’t I Charles?”

Charles made a small sound before Diego laughed lightly. Seeing Heather and Charles together was refreshing and after the disaster he’d had with Heather when Chris had walked in on them earlier in the week, he realized that it was nice to have a pressure free moment with her.

“Oh you have such a cute baby,” the waitress couldn’t help but add returning to give them their bill. “I know I said it earlier, but he’s so precious. You two make such a beautiful couple and your son is beautiful.”

“Oh we’re not…” Diego began watching the woman lean in to play with Charles.

“Thank you,” Heather smiled in response watching her walk off before Heather glanced over at him, “Gee, would you look at that Charles, she thought Diego was your daddy.”

“But she was wrong,” Diego corrected her shifting uneasily in his seat.

“There was a point in time when you were more than willing to play that role in his life,” Heather reminded him with a small sigh, “and I never properly thanked you for that.”

“I was just trying to do what was best for Charles, but now that Kipp is back…” Diego started again.

“Now you’ll just have to settle into the role of his mommy’s playmate instead,” Heather wiggled her brow suggestively at him, dropping her hand down on his leg. Her fingers curled over his muscled flesh before he let out a gulp.

“Heather, I don’t think now is the time to get into that,” he replied dropping his hand down underneath the table to try to break the contact between them before it grew far too distracting.

“Oh I think now is a perfect time. I realize that Chris got in the way of our fun the other night, but I was thinking that maybe you and I could give our poker game another try. I might even consider letting you win this time if you’re nice,” she wiggled her brow at him suggestively before Charles let out a small sound.

“As tempting as that sounds Heather, I think that maybe we should slow down for a while,” Diego decided watching her tend to Charles, “I think right now your son needs your full attention instead of you working on a romantic endeavor.”

“Are you saying that I can’t have both because I’m a mother now,” Heather frowned pulling Charles up into her arms, “That I’m not allowed to have a love life because I’m a mommy?”

“No, that’s not what I’m saying, but well, I don’t want you to feel like you’re some kind of rebound for me considering that Cori and I just broke up and…” Diego tried to reason with her finding himself increasingly uncomfortable around the subject after he’d slept with Sarah.

“Cori was the rebound,” Heather waved her hand dismissively before continuing to try to burp Charles, “I’m well aware of that and I’m fully prepared to erase the memory of her by rocking your world. Don’t let my being a mother fool you into thinking that I’m any less sensational than I was before.”

“I don’t doubt that for a second,” Diego thought aloud remembering all of his close encounters with Heather, “but…”

“But what?” Heather questioned tipping her head to the side to look at him, “Still need more convincing about how hot we could burn together?”

“No, it’s not that at all,” he started straining to find the right words to explain his apprehension, but short of telling her that he slept with Sarah, he found that was going to be a difficult task. Instead he opted to change the subject, “So have you spoken with Sarah lately?”

“Sarah,” Heather’s eyes perked up to watch him once again, “What in the world prompted you to ask about Sarah when we were talking about us right now?”

“Well she’s your sister and…” Diego stammered realizing that maybe he’d brushed upon the wrong subject at the most of inappropriate times.

“And here I am telling you how hot we’d be together, yet there you are questioning me about Sarah,” Heather carefully placed Charles back into his chair again before eyeing Diego expectantly, “You know that’s been happening a lot lately when we’re together. Every time I press the subject about you and I taking things to the next level, you find a way to work Sarah into the conversation. What gives Diego?”

“Well Heather I…” Diego stammered a bit not really sure how to answer that question. His face grew hot, his pulse racing a bit harder now that he was in the hot seat and yet he couldn’t use any of his intelligence to offer up an accurate response to her question.

“I mean seriously Diego. What is your deal with Sarah?” Heather continued to question, “Here you are with me, yet you refuse to talk about us and you want to discuss her. I mean what is it? Would you rather you be here with her instead of me right now? Is that really what’s happening here?”


Angela took in a long, slow breath knowing that she had to stay calm if she was going to make any progress with her brother. She had spent the night with Chris and had a long talk with him about family and she realized that right now the last thing she wanted was to be alienated from her brother. Knocking on the door, she was greeted by Franklin.

“Hello Ms. Stone, come in,” Franklin opened the door wider for her, “Is your brother expecting you?”

“Not this time, but I promise you that you won’t need to put away the sharp objects,” Angela replied with a small smile catching the small hint of laughter in his eyes.

“Point taken,” Franklin lead her to her brother’s study, “though I should warn you he’s been up most of the night and in a sour mood this morning.”

“I’ll take my chances,” she replied with a smile watching him leave down the hallway. Clearing her throat she knocked on the door hearing Cameron alert for her to enter. She did as instructed noticing that he had his back towards her. He was seated in his chair facing the window as it was clear he was looking out over his gardens.

“Whatever it is, I’ll deal with it later,” Cameron mouthed in a tired voice causing Angela to worry further about him. She moved towards his desk saying nothing until she was at his side.

“I hope you’ll think this is important enough not to wait,” she spoke up in a gentle tone catching his full attention. His dark eyes traveled up to see her and she could see he was surprised to have her standing beside him.

“What are you doing here? I would have figured you’d have left the country right now given how furious you were with me,” Cameron noted watching her kneel down beside him.

“The thought had crossed my mind, but then I figured that maybe it might be best to stick around for a while with the only family I have left,” Angela placed her hand on top of his feeling how cold his fingers were. “Cam, what is it?”

“It’s just been one of those nights,” he sighed heavily bringing his other hand up to his temple, “JT is upstairs and he had a rough night.”

“What’s wrong with JT this time? Drugs again?” she couldn’t help but ask catching his disapproving look, “I’m just saying. He only seems to run to you when Douglas cuts him off and he’s in some kind of trouble.”

“His child just died,” Cameron explained matter of fact.

“Oh,” she gasped taking a step back, “I didn’t know he was even a father.”

“The woman he was involved with was pregnant, but last night she suffered a miscarriage. He suspects it was intentional,” Cameron continued to explain to her, “He’s all torn up about it given that he was looking forward to being a father.”

“I’m so sorry,” Angela apologized her face darkening a bit, “I had no idea.”

“I know you didn’t Angel,” he squeezed her hand gently, “and I didn’t intend to bring you down this morning especially now that you’re here. Last night I figured that I wouldn’t be seeing you for a while again and even if you don’t believe me, that thought hurt.”

“It hurt me too,” she revealed knowing how hard she hated fighting with her brother, “I just didn’t like that you kept me in the dark given how much you mean to me.”

“Angel the only reason I keep you in the dark is for your own safety,” he replied reaching out to touch her cheek gently, “You are all that I have left in this world other than JT and it would kill me if anything happened to you.”

“It’s not going to,” she promised with a sad smile, “I’m not going to let that happen, but you can’t kill yourself to keep me safe. If anything happened to you…”

“Forget about me,” Cameron waved his hand dismissively, “Let’s talk about you for a minute. How are you feeling?”

“Tired,” she admitted with a small sigh, “confused about a lot of things. I’ve been thinking about my mother a lot lately.”

“Why?” Cameron frowned thinking about his own discoveries, “Why would she even enter your mind especially now that you have a life of your own? A life that she can’t destroy?”

“Destroy,” she blinked back at him, “Cam, she died when I was born. I hardly think that she could destroy my life. I just wish that I’d known her--that I’d been able to share my life with her just like I want to do with my children…”

“Perhaps fate intended for greater things for you Angel. I understand how heartbroken you were about her death, but maybe that was fate’s way of seeing to it that you weren’t sucked into her world,” Cameron explained thinking about all he’d uncovered about Avery and Brooke’s tortured relationship. If in fact Brooke Morrison was Angel’s mother, he promised himself that she would never be able to hurt her like she had Avery.

“You say that like you believe that she was a horrible person,” she blinked back at him confused, “but if daddy loved her, then how could that be so? Cam, did you know her?”

“I knew enough to know that you’re in much better hands now,” Cameron offered up leaving no more details about his discoveries open for discussion, “Besides it isn’t our past that makes us who we are. It’s what we do with our present that paves the way for the future.”

“If only I was convinced that you believe that,” she noted watching him closely, “because we both know that rule doesn’t apply for us.”

“Maybe not, but I don’t think that you should still be lost in this world when you have an opportunity for a new beginning,” he motioned to her swelled abdomen, “you have babies to think about Angel. Babies that should never be put in harm’s way. Right now I think that should take top priority.”

“It is Cameron, but I just wanted to know about my mother--to know the circumstances surrounding how she died and perhaps I can find a way to make sure that the same thing doesn’t happen to me,” she blurted out shakiness in her voice coming through the surface.

“Angel, is that what this is about?” his eyes widened, “Do you think that you’re going to die?”

“I don’t know Cam, but if it happened to her, then I suppose anything is possible,” she explained in a small voice, “I just want to take precautions that…”

“It’s not going to happen. I promise you that you’re not going to suffer those same complications. Kevin and I won’t allow it to be that way,” he pushed a piece of her short, dark hair behind her ear, “And speaking of Kevin, I hope that you two have mended fences because something told me you both were upset with one another when I last saw you. Is he not happy about the idea of being a father?”

“Cameron, Kevin isn’t…” she started again with a small frown.

“Listen to me Angel. I need you to hear this now,” he cut her off with a sudden seriousness, “I realize that things have been complicated over the years--that you and Kevin have had a very tortured history with one another, but…”

“Cam, you don’t understand…”

“Angel, I know that you love him and that he’s always loved you,” Cameron continued refusing to let her get a word in edgewise, “I realize that father gave you a hard time about your relationship with Kevin given that he was hired help, but I know that over the years it’s grown into more than that. I know that you two had a very passionate, very intense relationship with one another and our family put a strain on that for the both of you.”

“Yes, it did, but…” she began again.

“But nothing. Our father is dead and while I’m sure that you’re holding onto that old notion of making him happy and pleasing him, the truth to the matter is that I’m sure if he were alive today, he would be happy for you and Kevin,” Cameron explained with a small smile, “Deep down I think he knew how important Kevin was to you--how Kevin would give his life for yours and he and I would both be in agreement that there is no better man in the world for you than Kevin. I want you two to be happy Angel. I want you two to be able to enjoy your life and your children’s lives with one another. You two deserve happiness and when you’re married…”

“Cameron I think it’s a little too late for that one,” she tried to explain to him knowing that there were so many things about the circumstances that her brother didn’t fully understand.

“Angel, I know that it’s never too late for true love,” he replied in a small whisper, “Don’t be like your big brother here and shut everyone out to the point that all you’re left with is revenge and anger. It’s not a good place to be Angel and it will destroy you.”

“It hasn’t destroyed you,” she argued with him, “I see that you’re still strong and fighting.”

“Regardless I won’t ever allow anyone inside. Love and I, well it isn’t in the cards, but I don’t want it to be that way for you. I know that Kevin is the man that you were meant to share your life with and now that you’re having his children, I’m giving you my full blessing to be with him. All of the old rules and stipulations no longer apply. You two are free to be together now and I hope that you both make the most of that. For your children, I pray that you come to your senses and do what our father denied you the right to have with one another all those years ago by getting married.”


“Are you ready for a bite future Mrs. Kevin Adonis,” Kevin questioned swirling around a piece of pancake in front of Ria’s lips. She watched it with eager anticipation as the strawberry syrup fell from the food to his finger.

“That I am,” she nodded eagerly leaning forward from her place on the floor where they lay with one another in a pile of blankets on the mattress that they were spending a lazy day in. She nibbled on his thumb licking off the strawberry syrup as Kevin let out a small groan.

“That wasn’t exactly what I was referring to,” Kevin mused with a low, sensual whisper, “but since we’re exchanging nibbles…”

Ria closed her eyes feeling his lips tease over her shoulder. She let out a small murmur sliding in closer to him before she opened her eyes again. Reaching for the fork in his hand she stole the bite of pancake before motioning to the laptop computer set up in front of them.

“Come on Kevin,” she giggled climbing into his lap so that he could hold her more completely, “You promised me a first look at this masterpiece in the making and now I so don’t want you to back out on me.”

“I wasn’t planning on backing out on you,” Kevin’s words buzzed over her skin, his hands dropping down underneath the blanket to tease over her soft skin, “but rather I figured that we’d have a brief intermission.”

“Something tells me what you’ve got in mind is anything, but brief for us,” Ria tipped her head back to steal a kiss from his ever-so-perfect lips when she heard a squeal coming from the living room.

“What in the world happened in here last night,” Trisha’s voice echoed through the room causing the both of them to reach for a sheet to cover themselves. A few seconds later her head popped into her sister‘s bedroom and she let out a groan. “I should’ve known. Damn you two are sick. You know that right?”

“You know you could just knock instead of busting in all the time,” Ria frowned back at her younger sister catching Trisha’s look of heavy disapproval.

“Hmm, well I was just coming over to borrow a blouse because I figured you would be working and that you wouldn’t even notice it was missing, but obviously you skipped out on work here to play an X-rated pancake fantasy with Kevin here,” Trisha walked further into the room making her way over to Ria’s closet, “Not that I can blame you because Kevin is a total hottie, but still…”

“Thanks, I think,” Kevin exchanged looks with Ria. She tossed a warning glance at him before Kevin couldn’t help but make conversation with Trisha even though he was in nothing, but his birthday suit underneath the sheet, “So tell me Trisha, why do you need to steal one of Ria’s blouses?”

“Because I have a really hot date,” Trisha’s head popped out to look at him briefly before she disappeared into the closet again with a groan, “You know you two should really go rent a room or something.”

“We didn’t think we had to given that I’ve got my own apartment,” Ria shouted back at her, “And I have to admit that I’m almost regretting that I gave you a key.”

“Oh Ria you love me,” Trisha popped out into the bedroom again holding up two blouses in hand, “Well what do you think? The red one or the blue one?”

“Definitely the blue one,” Kevin pointed to the one in her left hand, “I think your sister looks super sexy in that one. Come to think of it, maybe you should wear the red then because I really like Ria in the blue.”

“Whatever,” Trisha turned to take a long look at her reflection in the mirror. She held up both blouses one at a time to see which one she preferred.

“You know Trisha, I don’t mind your coming over to borrow something, but you could’ve called first,” Ria added still feeling a bit uncomfortable about being naked with her fiancé in front of her younger sister.

“I would’ve, but there wasn’t enough time. I had to act fast because Chase called and said he had some really fun plans for us,” Trisha explained setting the red blouse down, “Oh Kevin, you are right. I do like the blue one.”

“So you’re going out with this Chase guy again huh,” Kevin scratched his chin lightly, “Tell me something, how did he contact you if you didn’t give him your number?”

“I gave him my cell phone number,” Trisha explained reaching for the red blouse once again.

“Yet you didn’t feel safe giving him your home address?” Kevin noted further.

“Well of course not. I mean just in case he’s like some kind of strange one or something I had to be sure,” Trisha added with a small smile, “So what do you think? Should I take a risk on the red?”

“I like it,” Kevin offered up with a small smile, “and leave the blue on the dresser for Ria.”

“Um hello everyone Kevin and I are both naked on the floor and this isn’t chat time,” Ria mouthed feeling her face grow hot with embarrassment now that both Kevin and Trisha seemed to be so very casual about what was going on before she walked in.

“I’m trying to ignore that,” Trisha noted moving back into the closet again, “and besides I think Chase really is a great guy. He’s sweet and sexy and he knows how to make me laugh. I have a lot of fun when I’m with him, so I think this relationship is off to a good start.”

“And if it switches gears on you, you’ll have to let me know. If he winds up being some kind of creep, I’ll personally break his neck for you,” Kevin promised catching the warning look from Ria, “What I’m just saying?”

“Even so, you know Trisha maybe you will want to call before you just start barging in here for clothing. I mean just so that we don’t have to go through any of these embarrassing moments all over again,” Ria couldn’t help but add wrapping herself up more completely in the sheet.

“You know I could do a background check on Chase if you’d like--just to make sure he checks out,” Kevin piped in feeling Ria poke him in the ribs. “What?”

“You’re not helping,” she frowned at him wondering how in the world he could be so comfortable in front of her sister when they were just engaging in very private activity before Trisha arrived.

“Hey, I’m just trying to make the most of the situation. It doesn’t hurt to ask questions,” Kevin shrugged spotting Trisha out of the corner of his eye. He looked up to see her in Ria’s red blouse offering it up for display.

“So what do you think? Think he’ll like it?” Trisha eyed them both for approval.

“It looks wonderful on you,” Ria waved her hand at Trisha dismissively, “but can you leave my bedroom now?”

“Sure, not a problem, though you two might want to get dressed because I’m having Chase meet me over here and he should be around any minute now,” Trisha replied exiting Ria’s bedroom with a small giggle.

“Tell me when did my privacy no longer become an option in my life,” Ria groaned falling back onto the mattress.

“Hey, it’s okay,” Kevin leaned in over her to steal a kiss from her lips, “I’m sure that we can find a way to get back to this later.”

“You’re just thankful that you’ve been given another reason to stall again with the manuscript,” she tossed out at him in an accusatory tone.

“Maybe a little, but trust me it’ll be well worth the wait,” Kevin dropped a quick kiss upon her lips, “Besides, I’d like a chance to have a word with this Chase guy.”

“You’ll scare the hell out of him Kevin and he won’t want to come back and pick her up here,” Ria blurted out catching the grin that expanded over his sexy features.

“That’s kind of the point,” he mouthed giving her one last sensual kiss before hopping out from underneath the blanket to get dressed. She watched him move across her bedroom with a proud smile realizing that this was just another one of the reasons she loved her husband to be. Not only was he strong and sexy, but brilliant beyond belief. Oh yes, things were most certainly looking up for the future now!


“Hey pops, you have to lighten up,” Chase jumped over the couch, landing in the seat next to Joseph before placing his hand on his father’s shoulder gently. “You have to open the window and fly away with the wind.”

“Chase,” Joseph paused for a second going to go on with responding to his son’s statement before offering up a small frown. “I would reply to that, but I don’t think I understand what you just said.”

“What I mean dad is,” Chase paused for a moment placing his feet up on the coffee table, looking over at his father once more. “You need to let the light back into your life. You need to realize that what happened with Susan wasn’t your fault. I mean face it dad, she must have caught it from her mother. She was a nut and none of it had anything to do with you.”

“Chase,” Joseph looked over at Chase with a small frown seeing Chase just simply shrug his shoulders.

“Dad, when I was six she tied the bed sheet around my ankles and tied the other end of the sheet to the fan,” Chase reminded Joseph as he placed his index fingers on his temples and closed his eyes tightly. “I remember how it felt when she turned that thing on.”

“I’m lucky you were the skinny little boy you were,” Joseph let out a small sigh thinking back to the moment Chase was talking about. Chase took off his sunglasses looking over at his father, his blue eyes glistening as the sun shined through the blinds. “If you were any bigger you may have fallen and broken your neck.”

“Yeah, instead of falling and breaking my neck,” Chase began getting up from the couch, placing his hand over his stomach as he let out a small groan. “I blew chunks everywhere--the worst moment of my life.”

“Hey, I was the one that had to clean that up,” Joseph chuckled seeing Chase let out a small smirk and slowly slide his sunglasses into the pocket of his jeans. “Imagine what it was like to do that.”

“I give you my dearest apologies father,” Chase tugged at the white tank top his wearing before shrugging his shoulders, “I remember that was my favorite hockey shirt she ruined.”

“She was still your sister Chase,” Joseph got up from the couch, walking over towards the window where he took a look out into the morning before him. “I still miss her.”

“I know that dad, but you need to be able to move on with your life,” Chase urged his father, taking a step in behind Joseph and placing his hand on his father’s shoulder. “Susan will always be in your heart, but you can’t continue to kill yourself over it. You deserve at least that much.”

“I know,” Joseph placed his hand on Chase’s, letting out a deep sigh as he spoke up once again. “I’m trying son, it’s just hard.”

“I know,” Chase frowned pondering about the rest of the day before snapping his fingers. Joseph turned around to face him as Chase let out a small laugh. “I know how I can make you feel better, I’ll take you on the date I’m going on today. We will have a lot of fun and I’m sure you will like Trisha.”

“A date? Who is Trisha?” Joseph couldn’t help but ask now knowing that his son had already met someone in Coral Valley. “What is she like.”

“She’s a great girl,” Chase simply said not quite knowing how to explain Trisha so far. “She is so very pretty and I think she’s really sweet.”

“That’s good to know son,” Joseph reached out to squeeze his son’s shoulder before reaching out and tapping the side of Chase’s face gently. “Now this time, don’t let her get away from you. Be nice, be careful, don’t drink, don’t smoke…”

“I think I have it under control dad,” Chase chuckled looking out at his father before shaking his head slowly, “I’ve been getting this pep talk since I was twelve.”

“It’s always good to hear it and make sure my son is going to be okay,” Joseph pointed out reaching out to hug Chase in his arms tightly, feeling Chase wrap his arms around him. “I don’t want to lose another child.”

“Don’t worry dad, you aren’t going to lose me,” Chase promised patting his father’s back gently before staring out the window in front of him. “I love you dad and I’m not going to leave you.”


“It’s great that you came here today,” Grady smiled across the table from Shannon as she took her seat slowly. He continued to play with the sugar package before him before letting out a deep sigh. “I haven’t seen you in a long time--how are things going for you?”

“I’m doing pretty good actually,” Shannon informed Grady with a small smile, thinking back to how she was with Don this morning only hours earlier. “How are you doing?”

“Oh, I’m really good,” Grady half smiled looking back down at the sugar package, pushing it around the table before shrugging his shoulders. “I couldn’t be better.”

“So you are doing horrible, right?” Shannon questioned seeing him look up at her with his bright, green eyes. Grady thought for a minute before nodding slowly.

“I guess I can’t hide it that well, can I?” he took in a deep breath, folding his arms out in front of him as he shook his head slowly. “I don’t know what to say. I just wonder how I can feel anymore.”

“Are you thinking about Jade?” Shannon stared out at Grady seeing him look away for a moment. She reached out to grab his arm gently, making him look at her as she shook her head slowly. “Don’t think about the things around us right now, just talk to me. What’s bothering you Grady, you know you’re my friend. You can talk to me.”

“I don’t know what to say,” he thought things over for a moment shrugging his shoulders as he spoke up once more, taking a look around their surroundings. “Every minute I think about her, everywhere I look I see her. I can’t get her out of my mind Shannon. I’m finding myself lost just sitting here without her. It feels…”

“Wrong,” she finished his sentence seeing him nod slowly before she let out a deep breath. She saw one of the waitresses stop at the table next to them and she waited for her to pass before going on with the conversation. “I know how you feel Grady. Sometimes the world isn’t fair, but you have to be happy that you are still here.”

“Should I really feel like that?” Grady couldn’t help but ask shrugging his shoulders as he spoke up. He went to speak again before getting something else in mind as he let out a small laugh. “I know I sound so pathetic too. Here I am complaining about myself, but my brother is going through hell. I’m lucky that he’s alive, but here I am complaining about my stupid problems.”

“No problem is stupid Grady, everything is understandable,” Shannon tried to urge him reaching out to squeeze his hand gently, offering up a small smile. “It’s not a contest on who is more hurt right now. Everyone deserves to be able to feel better and move on.”

“You see that’s where you are wrong, I find myself being jealous,” he informed her with small chuckle, not believing that he was actually feeling the way he was. He tapped his hands on the table before shrugging his shoulders and going on. “I find myself being jealous that Russ gets to move on with Avery and I’m here all alone, moving on without the love of my life. The love of my life is really dead. She’s not on an island, she is dead and I’m here without her.”

“Grady, you know she wouldn’t want you killing yourself over this,” Shannon pointed out seeing him let out a small laugh before biting down on his bottom lip. “She would want you to be happy.”

“How can I be happy so fast?” Grady asked throwing his hands up in the air before rolling his eyes. “It’s not like the love of my life is going to show up and say…”

“Listen lady, you need to pay up real fast before you get in big trouble,” Grady heard the waiter behind him getting louder as he let out a small frown hearing the waiter continue. “Listen you…”

“Hey now,” Grady stood up from the booth standing up to stare at the waiter not happy with the way the waiter’s tone of voice was. Grady let out a small gasp seeing Deana before him in front of the waiter as he shook it off. “What’s going on sir?”

“She has to pay the bill and this shitty credit card was denied,” the waiter snapped throwing Deana’s credit card down on the table roughly before looking back at Deana.

“Hey now, don’t talk to her like that or I will have you fired,” Grady informed him with a deep expression watching the waiter look over at him with a scowl. “Don’t give me that expression too because I know the owner of this restaurant and I don’t think Mr. Angle would be too happy knowing that you are pushing around your female customers, so I suggest you should calm down a bit.”

“I’m sorry sir,” the waited found himself at a loss as he worried about the fact of losing his job here and now. “I just need this bill paid.”

“Well here,” Grady pulled out his wallet, pulling out some money handing it to the kid before him. Grady took a look at the name tag before him as he let out small laugh. “Take this Oscar, I’m sure it will cover the bill and then some. I will make sure Mr. Angle won’t find out about this, just make sure you try and be a bit nicer next time.”

“Yes sir,” the waiter quickly walked away from the situation before he could get himself in anymore trouble, leaving Deana and Grady alone.

“Next time you might want to stand up for yourself,” Grady suggest with a small grin looking out at Deana as she nodded slowly, looking up into his green eyes. “Don’t worry about it, I wanted to buy you breakfast anyway.”

“Yeah, thanks Grady,” Deana quickly walked away as Grady tried to say something else, but she was already out the door before he could say another word.

“Great,” Grady sat back down in the booth seeing Shannon smiling at him as he shrugged his shoulders. “I was trying to be nice there.”

“Did you know her?” Shannon questioned seeing Grady nod slowly and she let out another small laugh. “Well, whoever she was--she didn’t look to happy seeing you.”

“Yeah, I got that feeling too,” Grady replied with a small shake of his head, thinking back to how much he was trying to be nice to her and trying to be friends. “She’s just a friend.”

“A friend,” Shannon nodded slowly, folding her arms out in front of her chest as she let out another laugh when she saw the waiter quickly pass their table. “Do you really know the owner here?”

“Not really,” Grady shook his head slowly letting out a small laugh thinking about the lie he told the waiter, “He’s more along the lines of a close friend of Kyle’s, but why not lie when you can? I mean really.”

“Smooth move,” Shannon chuckled feeling her cell phone begin to go off and she motioned Grady to wait a moment. Without taking the time to look at the number on her phone, she answered it quickly knowing that it was near the end of the call. “Hello.”

“Is everything okay?” Grady wondered watching the color fade from Shannon’s face as she continued to talk on the other end of the phone.

“Oh god, I‘ll be right there,” Shannon rolled her eyes, standing up from the booth as she looked down at Grady when she hung up her phone. “I have to go, it’s really important.”


Brant paced around the bedroom knowing that he was taking a risk in moving about. He’d gotten up when Avery left and fully intended on settling back into bed, but he’d had to go to the bathroom. Knowing that he wouldn’t be able to hold it much longer he’d raced off to the adjoining bathroom feeling fortunate that Avery hadn’t returned just yet, however her absence had him a bit concerned.

“What is going on down there,” he frowned his eyes fixed on the door when he heard a sound from behind it. He was about to move forward, but then he noticed the turning of the knob. In a panic he rushed over to the bed struggling to get back underneath the blankets before his rouse was over.

“Oh you’re so in for it now pal,” a heavy voice grumbled as Brant glanced up to see Don standing in the room closing the door behind him in a hurried rush. A chuckle swept over Don’s face as Brant felt his heart leap into his throat, “Ha, I scared you, didn’t I?”

“Don you are such a jerk,” Brant glared at his best friend, “For a second I thought that you were…”

“Russ right?” Don shook his head at Brant, “Well it serves you right considering that I told you not to get out of that bed at any cost unless I was the one in here. I told you to stay put and…”

“I was trying to, but I figured I was safe since Avery left when she heard that noise,” Brant explained further, “and speaking of which, where in the world is she? What’s happening down there?”

“Russell Denton seems to be throwing a party in your mansion,” Don informed him point blank watching the way Brant’s face twisted with anger.

“That’s it. I’m going to kill him,” Brant began to march towards the door ready to rip Russell’s head off.

“Wait a second,” Don pushed him back ever so slightly, “You can’t go down there.”

“The hell I can’t!” Brant snapped at him, “if he’s destroying my home…”

“Then you just sit back and let it happen because it’s only going to prove to Avery what an ass he truly is,” Don reminded him simply. “It’s a win-win situation for you Brant.”

“When he destroys my home it’s not going to be a winning moment considering that…” Brant’s words came to a stop as he thought about what his friend was telling him. “Don, you’re brilliant!”

“Of course I am,” Don smiled back at him, “Did you ever have any doubts? On second thought don’t answer that.”

“Okay I won’t,” Brant paced around the room, the big picture inside of his head, “You’re so right about this. When Avery sees how Russ has started to behave in such a juvenile fashion to upset me, she’s going to tear into him like you wouldn’t believe. She doesn’t tolerate stupidity and I have to say that this particular stunt is right there on the top of the stupidity list.”

“That it is given that you could have him brought to some serious trouble for this,” Don added starting to pace behind his friend. “The way I see it, Russ is getting in over his head and this is one battle that he’s not going to win.”

“You’re right! You’re absolutely right!” Brant spun around to find Don practically in his face. He took a step back nearly stumbling in the process, “Careful Don!”

“Sorry,” Don stopped moving long enough to listen to what Brant had to say.

“So all I have to do is wait this out and let everyone think that I’m still oblivious to everything and Russ will bury himself,” Brant scratched his chin lightly thinking about how happy he would be to rid himself of Russell’s intrusions.

“Pretty much. I mean Avery is buying all of this, right?” Don couldn’t help but ask.

Brant nodded shamefully, “Yeah she hasn’t doubted it for a second and I feel horrible about lying to her, but I know that if I could just get more time alone with her, this will work out like it’s supposed to be.”

“That’s right,” Don nodded encouragingly, “Avery will remember all that you shared and see that it pales in comparison to the childhood crush she had on him. He’s not even half the man that you are and he’s proving that more and more.”

“You’re right,” Brant agreed with a small grin on his face, “and by the time we’re through with this one, my long lost brother will have no choice but to get lost for once and for all.”


“Would someone please tell me what’s going on around here?” Blake shouted above the roaring music that still filled her home. She watched people moving in and out of her house wild and frantic in their partying and she couldn’t help but frown. She moved forward ready to snap at a couple of guys who were still playing some kind of kick ball near one of the statues when she felt a hand on her arm.

“Let go of me you…!” she started spinning around to see Kyle standing beside her. Frowning intensely she glared up at him, “Kyle, what in the hell are you doing here?”

“Taking to you,” Kyle replied sheepishly catching her less than impressed expression, “Oh okay, I was just trying to keep you from being thrown into a mosh pit again.”

“That was so not funny,” she heard a crashing sound from behind her.

Before she could turn around she felt Kyle tugging her into one of the quieter rooms away from the party. Once they were both inside Kyle took a quick look out in the hall to see the damage that had been done. He cringed slightly before swiftly bringing the door to a close before Blake could peer out. Spinning around he faced her again with a small grin. He raised his hands in the air to keep her from leaving and spoke up in a smooth and even tone.

“I can explain everything,” Kyle started taking in a small breath and knowing already he was in hot water with Blake.

“You had better start doing it fast,” she warned folding her arms in front of her chest. Before Kyle could satisfy her curiosities with an answer, the door flung open and Sarah stepped inside.

“Kyle, there you are,” Sarah began giving him a quick look before seeing Blake.

Kyle took Sarah’s arrival as a way to get a quick exit and before he could say anything further he waved over in Blake’s general direction. He reached for Sarah, placing her between him and Blake before he rushed over to the door.

“Don’t worry Blake. You’ll get your answers. Just ask Sarah. She’ll tell you everything,” Kyle promised slipping out of the door ready to rejoin the festivities as Blake turned her attention to Sarah.

“What in the world is going on?” Blake couldn’t help but ask again her frustrations mounting further.

“My apartment burnt down,” Sarah explained with a desperate tone, her eyes sullen and clearly upset over the situation.

“Wait a second,” Blake’s thoughts of the party demolishing her home fell back to what Sarah had just told her, “Are you saying that your apartment had some kind of fire?”

Sarah nodded again, tension creasing over her brow, “I lost practically everything Blake. My place went up in flames because I knocked over a stupid candle and…”

“Oh honey I’m so sorry,” Blake stepped forward to embrace her friend. “Why didn’t you say anything sooner?”

“Well you and I really didn’t cross paths before now and…” Sarah threw her hands up in frustration, “I don’t know what I’m going to do. I don’t know where I’m going to go now and…”

“Hey, it’s okay,” Blake spoke up encouragingly, “You can stay here though I can’t promise you peace and quiet given that Kyle and Russ seem to have this house in an uproar.”

“They are just being stupid,” Sarah groaned inwardly, “Russ thinks that Brant is faking being hurt and he’s throwing this party to prove that Brant is a liar and Kyle is indulging this stupid notion that Russ has. I tried to talk him out of it, but those two are like big fraternity jerks when they get together. It’s ridiculous.”

“It’s going to get even more ridiculous when I call the police and have them both tossed out of here,” Blake scowled thinking about all that her brother was going through. “Brant doesn’t need that kind of crap from either one of them. He’s hurt and…”

“I tried to talk Kyle out of it, but he’s so ignorant sometimes,” Sarah scowled thinking about the man she loved, “She’s so damned moody and…”

“And what?” Blake couldn’t help but ask.

“I’m just really sorry about what’s going on. Russ told Kyle that we could stay here since he’s staying here with Avery as well,” Sarah continued to inform her. “It sounded like it might be an okay idea at the time, but now…”

“I’m not upset with you,” Blake assured her friend, “I’m sure that this mess is all Russell Denton’s doing and I don’t care what everyone is saying about him, I want him out of my house pronto. He can’t get away with this even if Avery is in love with that idiot. This is still my home and if no one else has the courage to do something to end this madness, then I will!”


“See so far so good,” Kyle boasted with a proud smirk, “I kind of feel like this is like college there. I mean you remember the parties that Grady and I had at the dorm. Oh wait, the only time you came up and over to any of our parties you spent most of the time in the corner making out with Avery.”

Russell grinned at the memory, “Yeah those were great times.”

“That they were,” Kyle clanked his glass with Russell’s before taking a long sip.

“There you two are,” Augustus Ashford called out to the both of them. “Here I thought you two had disappeared.”

“Augustus,” Russell cleared his throat uneasily fearing that his newfound grandfather was going to murder him for all that Kyle had brought to the Ashford Estate.

“I just wanted to say,” Augustus laughed lightly reaching for one of the drinks in the cooler beside Russ and Kyle, “I haven’t had this much fun in decades.”

“What?” Russell’s practically dropped as Augustus snapped his fingers and two very curvaceous women moved in at his sides giggling.

“See now Augie. I knew you had it in you to lighten up man,” Kyle motioned to another person in the room, “Although something is missing.”

“What might that be?” Augustus questioned with a curious expression seeing the woman that Kyle had flagged out of the crowd to join them.

“Well you have a blonde, a brunette and I think you need one final touch in a redhead,” Kyle explained as the woman joined the trio, “Augie, this is Candy and I’m sure she’ll be a sweet treat.”

“Hi Augie,” the woman waved at him sheepishly.

“Well hello Candy,” he smiled at her before motioning to the girls at his side, “I was just about to show these two the hot tub out back. Would you perhaps be interested in taking a look for yourself?”

“Would I ever,” she nodded eagerly moving in beside him to take a hold of one of his arms.

“I don’t believe this,” Russell’s jaw dropped in a state of astonishment as Augustus walked off with his new companions.

“I can see where Brant gets it from,” Kyle paused for a moment, “I mean no offense, but Augie’s got it going on. He’s not at all as stuffy as I thought he would’ve been.”

“No he’s not,” Russell replied with a puzzled expression, “He’s taking this way too good.”

“Well did you get a look at his companions? What red-blooded male wouldn’t be in a happy mood if they were in his shoes,” Kyle joked lightly before nudging Russ in the ribs, “Hey lighten up. Getting gramps on your good side can’t hurt.”

“I suppose not, but this isn’t working like we thought it would. Brant hasn’t made one appearance yet and it’s got me thinking that…” Russ started to explain fearing that their gamble hadn’t paid off when a loud, shrill voice broke through the music.

“Russell Denton what the hell do you think you’re doing?” Avery’s voice shrieked at him as Russ saw her standing near the room’s entrance, her hand on the radio she’d just shut off. If her eyes were any indication of what it was she was thinking in that particular moment in time, well, then Russ knew he was in trouble. Big trouble!



...to be continued...